Local news station KRA3 reports from Sacramento, California, that comic book and toy stores in the area believe that they have been targeted for break-ins and vandalism in recent months. After reporting a break-in at Sacramento store Toy Fusion in Sacramento, the station learned of four additional stores that had reported recent burglaries, and they detailed two of them.
That includes Pam Farley and Gene Farley, who took over Sacramento's Comics & Collectibles in 1998, telling them that an employee arrived Monday afternoon to find a shelf of products containing Pokemon and Magic The Gathering cards had been emptied, and believe the thief stayed in the ceiling during the break-in, moving tiles until they found a high shelf containing the cards.
And there was A-1 Comics, whose CEO Brian Peets said they've had multiple incidents of vandalism, break-in attempts and two successful break-ins recently, saying, "we've had incidents in the past, over the course of our history, but nothing like what's going on right now." One incident saw $50,000 stolen.
And then, whilst writing this article, I received this report from the Murrieta Police Department of California, which received a 911 call of a commercial burglary in progress at Graham Cracker Comics last night.
"The reporting party was monitoring CCTV cameras and told dispatch they could see subjects taking items from inside the business after smashing the front window to gain entry. Officers arrived within minutes and observed a black Dodge Charger in the parking lot that fled when officers attempted to make contact. A second suspect was spotted on foot in front of the business but quickly apprehended after attempting to flee on foot."
"A vehicle pursuit ensued with the Charger driving westbound on Los Alamos Road as officers followed with emergency overhead lights and sirens activated. Officers briefly lost sight of the vehicle in the area of Ivy Street and Washington Avenue but determined it had lost control and crashed. The vehicle was located at the corner of Ivy Street and 3rd Avenue, lodged into the corner of a nearby residence, with the driver missing."
"Officers quickly established a perimeter and found the driver hiding in a nearby backyard. The driver and other suspect were both arrested and transported to a local hospital. The driver was treated for injuries sustained as a result of the vehicle collision and the other suspect treated for unrelated health issues. After receiving medical clearance, both suspects were booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center. No residents or officers were injured during the incident."
"Detectives assisted in processing the Charger for evidence and found numerous comics and other items inside the vehicle that had been taken from the business along with burglary tools. Anthony Shepherd, a 25-year-old male from San Jacinto, was arrested for 459 PC – Burglary, 2800.2(a) CVC – Evading Peace Officer, 2002(a) CVC – Hit and Run, 3056 PC – Parole Violation. Nikida Staten, a 37-year-old male from Los Angeles, was arrested for 459 PC – Burglary, 11377(a) H&S – Possession of Controlled Substance, Felony Warrant"
In the comments, Graham Crackers comic shop chain owner John Robinson reports, "We've been open for 40 years this year, and I've had to deal with a LOT of theft and break-ins at our various 12 locations. I've unfortunately had to deal with officers that do NOT seem to want to be bothered with the problems of retail theft and breaking and entering. I've had Officers ask me "Do you REALLY want to press charges?" – "Nothing I can do" – "Not sure why you're bothering" – "Can you try catching him in person rather than just turning in video of him stealing?" – seemingly anything to avoid work. Not with the MURRIETA POLICE DEPARTMENT – these guys got the job done. My understanding was that their shift was even ending when they got the call. No one here tried to just dismiss this as not worth their time. They caught the thieves in record time and handled it like complete pros. We're so lucky to have a shop in such a great town and have one of the best police departments in the United States to protect it. Thanks so much – it's so great to see justice taken care of, I'm grateful no one outside the thief was hurt in the high-speed chase and appreciate everyone that helped."
Crime is a natural part of every retail environment's consideration. But have any other comic stores noticed an uptick of late?