Local small business asks community for help amid theft

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SOUTH BEND, In. --- A local small business is seeking help from the community to find two individuals that stole one of the most valuable items from their store. On Saturday afternoon, the thieves performed a 'grab and dash' at Fantasy Games in South Bend, taking with them a valuable collection of vintage Pokemon cards. The theft was all caught on surveillance video.

The value of a Pokemon card can range anywhere from a few cents to thousands of dollars, depending on how rare it is. Unfortunately for Fantasy Games, the stolen binder contained cards that are worth up to hundreds of dollars each, making it one of the most valuable items there.

 “We don’t make a huge amount of money, so losing five thousand dollars in a day is rough," says Fantasy Games manager, Mitchell Mitchell.

Fantasy Games is asking the public for help in identifying two individuals that stole a Pokemon binder from the store on Saturday afternoon. A manager that was working at the time recalls the theft, saying that it's not unusual for people to look through the vintage cards.

“The one guy said ‘Hey, where’s your vintage Pokemon cards?’, and we had a Pokemon binder that had some older stuff in it, so I handed it to him, and basically once I handed it to him he got a little bit weird. He kind of pulled it towards him and was flipping through the binder really quick," recalls Mitchell. “He maybe had it for ten, fifteen seconds and closed it and ran.”

The manager explains that between the amount of vintage cards in the binder and the rising popularity of the game, the binder was worth about $5,000 in trading cards, making it an easy target for thieves.

“The popularity of it probably increased the amount of people that would know about it, and just like, googling ‘Pokemon cards’ would bring us up. So, it’s possible that they knew that we would have some more expensive stuff," Mitchell says. "Some of the stuff we had in there was two or three hundred dollars a piece, like each page holds nine cards and the second page was full of two hundred dollar cards.”

With people sharing the video of the theft on social media, support from loyal customers is helping the small business bounce back from the loss.

“The support has been really nice. We've already had some people messaging us saying ‘Hey, so sorry this happened, I wanna come out and spend some money because you’re a local business’, that kind of thing," Mitchell says.

While the loss of the binder does hurt the business, employees are just thankful that it was not a violent theft, and no one working at the store was hurt in the act.

“It could’ve been worse. Someone could have gotten hurt. It could’ve been a break-in in the middle of the night and take every single thing we have," says Mitchell. "One binder is a terrible thing, but we will get through it."

The Saint Joseph County Detective Bureau is handling the case, but Fantasy Games continues to ask for the public's help in identifying the offenders. If you have any information on who the two individuals are, call the store at 574-277-1133 or the St. Joseph County Detective Bureau at 574-235-9569. All tips are anonymous.


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