Monday, September 16, 2013

Something Needs to be Said

This is a topic that I don't find around much, but it seems to be pretty prevalent. Or maybe it is only prevalent here at my local store.

The topic is stealing/theft.

Yes, this can be a big problem for gamers. This is a hard topic to tackle properly, so maybe I should cover this in the sporadic way my brain works. So let's start with a story.

Back in February, on Gameday for Gatecrash, there were 7 of us playing that day and a couple others in the store, specifically some Yu Gi Oh players. The seven of us playing knew that there was no way we'd get the promos if it wasn't a sanctioned tournament, which means that we needed an eighth player. This meant we had to find someone right there who could jump into the game, and there was one kid, who had been asking one of my friends about a lot of the cards in his binder. And these aren't just any cards... They were shocklands, foil mythics (Obzedat, Entreat the Angels, and others) which, unless you fork over a good amount of cash, are hard to come by.

So essentially what happens is that someone paid for this kid to play, in exchange for the promo cards.

Sometime before the tournament or in the beginning, my friend accidentally set down his binder, and then picked it up a couple minutes later. Then, he put it down again, and when he came back to look for it, the binder was gone. So a binder with probably about $1000+ in value (which I knew some of the cards in there, and they were expensive and hard to get) disappears from in front of the register in a small town store. So a customer walks off with it, or a player takes it and stuffs it in their bag.

My friend tells me what the binder looks like and some of the cards in it. And I, being the upstanding citizen that I am, actually set my bag on a table so he can look through it (because, let's face it, I'm a college student, and my Magic bag at the time was my huge book bag). Of course he doesn't find it in there. And if I don't want to be wrongly accused of crime, I'm going to let someone search my stuff.

Needless to say, it completely disappears that day and my friend made a long list of everything in the binder.

Every month or so, I ask my friend if he finds his binder or if he's recovered anything from it, or if he just went out and bought cards to replace some of the missing cards. He hadn't found it at all. That is, not until last week.

The same kid walks in with a binder (like the one my friend owned) claiming that his dad's friend recently stopped playing Magic and gave him the binder. My friend then asks the kid if he has trades and is handed the binder to look through.

Now, inside is a foil Entreat the Angels, a foil Obzedat, Ghost Council, playsets of shocklands, and a lone original Ravnica: City of Guilds, which a 15 or 16 year old kid probably doesn't have.

These cards almost exactly match what my friend lost the last time we saw this kid. And I was there for the confrontation and when it was stolen, so I'm essentially a primary witness.

How was it resolved? My friend confronted the kid, said he was sure they were his and the kid was sure they were his, so the only option was to call the police. The kid didn't want that and suggested that my friend take what was his, and quickly corrected to "think" was his. So, since I carry my draft sleeves with me in the event of a draft, the clerk at the counter (also a friend) took the cards out, put them in my sleeves, and we left everything at the store for a week in the event the kid came back trying to claim them again. Of course, he and his girlfriend were discussing legal options and then when the store owner called the police since he is a minor and they have to protect themselves, he and his girlfriend rushed out of the store. They later came to apologize the next day, but we are watching them if they ever come back, because we know what happened.

Moral of the story: Keep everything you own on you at all times at all tournaments. Especially at those bigger tournaments like StarCityGames tournaments because I've heard of people getting robbed there because they set something down and turned their back for a minute. I do now, for sure.

Another story is that I sold a Geist of Saint Traft on eBay to someone actually in my area, and I gave it to him at FNM this past Friday because he requested that I just give it to him. It would have worked out better if he had wanted it mailed, solely because he took it out of the toploader I gave it to him in, set it on a table uncovered, turned his back for a couple minutes, and it disappeared. Just another point to illustrate, but you never know if something of yours will go missing at a tournament when you aren't watching. But we also had some people we've never seen in the store before playing, but we are a welcoming community at the store (there are two stores here, but I only play at one) and we don't judge people openly like that. In fact, looking at any Magic player who shows up in your store as a potential thief is a bad thing to do, since you don't know them yet. So all you can really do is be vigilante, always ready to block any attackers, err... thieves.

So Magic cards getting stolen can be a big problem. It has never happened to me, but I'm always careful.

I mean, surely these instances are outliers, right?

Damn. Guess not. There will always be someone who wants to take some cards I guess, either by a normal theft, or apparently by murder for a Black Lotus.

So the moral of this post, also known as the TL;DR version: don't leave your cards laying around, and don't brag about super expensive cards in your house (or just don't tell anyone where you live). So that is all I wanted to bring to everyone's attention.

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