A group of thieves rammed a van into a toy store in the town of Voorburg near The Hague in the Netherlands, and successfully looted an unspecified amount of Pokémon cards and LEGO.
Pokémon cards and LEGO have gained a cult fan following through the years, with their prices continuing to soar, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the demand of these products comes a rising number of thefts related to them.
According to the Dutch police report, the still unidentified suspects targeted a toy store chain called Intertoys.
Witnesses saw two men in a white van ram into the front of the shop, whose façade was damaged upon impact. The store manager told local news outfit Omroep West that they expected this kind of attack so they put laminated glass on the shop’s window so the suspects would not be able to take much.
“This involves a lot of money,” the manager said. “The LEGO Masters program has made LEGO very popular, and Pokémon is also worth a lot of money. They were exactly in that corner with the ram raid.”
Following the incident, police searched for the vehicle, whose license plate and description were noted by witnesses, and found it in the Hague, some 20 minutes away from the toy store.
As of this writing, the suspects are still at large.
A number of thefts related to both LEGO and Pokémon cards have been reported in the past few years.
In March, members of an international gang of toy thieves that specializes in stealing LEGOs were apprehended in Paris as they were in the process of stealing boxes of LEGO. These members were originally from Poland, whose set up was to settle in a hotel in Paris and raid toy stores before returning to Poland and selling their loot.
In the US, a man was arrested after police suspected he stole $7,500 (P374,000) worth of LEGOs from a storage area in Oregon.
According to a report by The Guardian, LEGOs are hot items for thieves as the company comes out with limited edition sets that become collectors’ items. With this, people have realized that they can earn money by reselling LEGOs online.
An example is a Café Corner LEGO set that cost about $170 (P8,800) when it first came out in 2007. But it 2020, it was being sold online for $3,000 (P149,000).
Meanwhile, Pokémon card thefts are also on the rise, with some of these coveted playing cards could fetch for hundreds of thousands of dollars when resold online.
A collector in Overijssel in the Netherlands lost tens of thousands of euros worth of cards after two individuals who posed as buyers of his exclusive Pokémon cards duped him. The cards, priced at 1,000 euros (P59,000) each, were reportedly sold in Paris and are still in circulation.
Pokémon cards, whose first series was released in 1996, could fetch for six figures, especially the ones that are graded.
In a Vice report in April, a First Edition Charizard card with Grade 10 and in mint condition was sold for more than $300,000 (P14.9 million). While a box of First Edition Base Set of Pokémon cards from the original 1999 launch was recently sold for over $400,000 (19.9 million) at auction.