A Forest Lake, Minnesota Gaming Shop was robbed by a single thief who broke through the wall from a neighboring establishment in the late night of February 10. The man reportedly stole cash from the store and over $250,000 in Pokémon cards from Punch Out Gaming. (presumably… ‘you gotta catch em’ all’) According to local NBC news outlet KARE, “Overnight Thursday into Friday a crook broke into the shop by getting into a neighboring business, busting a hole in the wall and entering Punch Out’s storage room, stealing an undisclosed amount of cash and an estimated $250,000 in collector cards.” Because the thief bypassed the doors and windows entirely, no alarms were triggered.
“I just feel numb, just watching somebody come in and take everything away that you worked so hard to build up over the years,” said co-owner Jason Peterson as he watched the heist caught on video from the store’s security system.
“I realized how much money, product, and time we put into it, and I just started crying…I can’t recover this product because our distributors don’t have any. So, even with the insurance money, that doesn’t do us any good,” explained Johnson.
The video footage from the shop’s surveillance system shows a man with a stocking or mesh product obscuring his face ransacking the supply room of the valuable collectible cards and then emptying the cash. He spent nearly two hours inside the store with impunity. The small business is very much a “mom and pop” family business that is now struggling to find the next steps from the massive loss of inventory.
This is 😔, the store is called 'Punch Out Gaming'. Oh the irony.
Dexerto: Pokemon card thief smashes through shop wall & steals $250k in products.https://t.co/LtEA3aUpwM
— Nathan (@slightlyusedpsx) February 14, 2022
Pokémon Mania Likely Drove The Theft
Kotaku.com wrote that the cards have seen increased demand and “crazy prices” with some cards going for online auction in the hundreds of thousands individually! They write, that these reasons “are likely the reasons a man decided to steal rare Pokémon cards and other Pokemon-related merchandise from the local shop. We’ve also seen the increased demand for cards lead to chaotic scenes at stores like Walmart.“
“This is devastating for us, it’s really going to be hard for us to weather the storm, we don’t have any answers yet, we’re still working on getting it sorted out,” Peterson shared.
“It only makes our devotion stronger,” insists Peterson, who says Punch Out Gaming has been doing business in Forest Lake for eight years. “We’re really going to keep going forward, reinvent and come back.”
As crime rates continue to explode, especially in Minnesota due to movements to defund police and soft or non-existent prosecution we are likely to see far more heartbreaking stories like these. Punch Out Gaming is offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the criminal. You can contact the store at (651) 464-9820. Or you can contact the Forest Lake Police.
$1000 reward for the arrest and conviction of this guy. Someone has to know him! That Fox jacket should be a great way to identify him. Stole a massive amount of sealed Pokémon product. Including tons of Japanese boxes from Punch Out Gaming in Forest Lake, MN pic.twitter.com/5Kg5BOuAyJ
— Punch Out Gaming (@PunchOutGaming) February 18, 2022