About $30,000 worth of merchandise was stolen Thursday morning from a Spokane Valley comic book store.
Craig Barnett, owner of the Comic Book Shop on the corner of East Sprague Avenue and South Bowdish Road, said two rocks were thrown through the storefront’s window. The thief or thieves, which have not been identified, then stole Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering cards from two display cases and another 18 boxes of Pokemon cards from behind the counter. Barnett said each box of cards is worth about $150.
“Pokemon has exploded over the last couple of years,” said Kyle Raugust, a store employee. “COVID has caused it to skyrocket in price for all of the older stuff and for a lot of the newer stuff, too, and it’s the most popular IP (intellectual property) in the world right now.”
Barnett said he and employees determined $28,000 in goods were stolen, but “it could hit $30,000 pretty easy” after they continue to investigate.
“It’s people trying to steal to get quick cash, so it’s an annoyance and it’s a cost of doing business, but it’s a really annoying cost,” Barnett said. “It just impacts a lot of people in a really negative way.”
Barnett said a motion sensor was activated behind the counter, which triggered an alarm at 7:20 a.m., well before the store opened at 11. The shop’s security camera stopped functioning at midnight before starting again at 8 a.m. Thursday, so Barnett said there’s no footage of the burglary.
Mark Gregory, a corporal and spokesperson for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said the incident is under investigation and there are no suspects. Barnett said he believes at least two people were involved.
Blood was left at the shattered window, likely indicating the thief or thieves cut themselves on the glass.
Barnett said he is installing a new security system. The security company already added new features, such as louder alarms and another motion sensor, on Thursday.
He said the perpetrators also damaged a 55-inch television inside the store. He estimated the total damage to the store at $2,000.
Barnett said it didn’t take long to clean up the glass and put things back in order as the store was open to the public Thursday.
“The amount of support we’ve gotten from people has just been phenomenal,” Barnett said. “Calls and emails and Facebook stuff, it’s pretty cool.”
Barnett said Thursday’s incident was the second time in a week that his store was vandalized.
A rock was thrown through the store window about a week ago, he said. No one entered the shop and nothing was stolen that time. About eight months ago, someone broke into the store and took Pokemon cards.
Prior to those events, Barnett said it’s been quite a few years since his store was severely burglarized. He said break-ins happened frequently at the shop in the early 1990s.
He said he opened the Comic Book Shop in 1988, and it has moved to various Spokane Valley locations over the past 34 years. It’s been at the East Sprague Avenue location for 2½ years. Barnett also owns the Comic Book Shop on North Division Street and another at NorthTown Mall. He owns Candy Works, a candy store, at NorthTown Mall as well.
Anyone with information on the theft can call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
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