HONOLULU (KHON2) — Collectables are catching the eyes of criminals. Retail Merchants of Hawaii says it’s noticing everything from trading cards to memorabilia getting taken off the shelves.
“We are seeing a lot more theft right now and it’s really sad,” said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii President.
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The craze over collectibles has skyrocketed during the pandemic.
“You’re holding your stock in hand,” said Kawika Smith, Host of Murphy Street Collection. “The card collecting culture has been around for quite some time, but it’s just amazing to see what the pandemic has done to actually raise the value. The community has definitely grown exponentially.”
“They cost a lot of money and people are willing to pay to finish their collection or to get that one card that they really want,” Yamaki said.
With collectors willing to pay top dollar, thieves are setting their targets. On Sunday, police say someone robbed the Aloha Card Shop in Puck’s Alley. Employees told KHON2 the thief got away with up to $30,000 worth of sports cards. Yamaki says thieves make a quick buck by selling the stolen goods online.
“You can set up a fake account, with a fake name, fake address, and all of this other kind of stuff,” said Yamaki. “Then you can sell it. You meet the person. They give you cash because a lot of times it’s cash only, and then they’re gone.”
“The ability for you to kind of get it off without having any real paperwork or paper trail behind it I would say is the reason why a lot of people are going for them,” Smith said.
The challenge with getting the items back is they’re usually not registered to a specific owner. Smith says one way victim’s can try to get their items back by getting the word out there.
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“I’ve seen the community come together to help bring someone to justice,” Smith said. “So if I were that person, I definitely would put my feelers out there into the community and on Facebook. I’m sure someone on there would have some kind of idea or at least come across them on the memorabilia.”