Large Collection Stolen at GP: New York



  • Although I'm sure a lot of us have seen this terrible incident being shared around Facebook, I thought I'd help spread the word on here. Any extra publicity that this situation receives is a very good thing.

    Here's a link to a detailed article with additional information.

    In the above article, the wife of the victim mentions how video footage suggests that the situation was predetermined between two people who created a distraction.

    Several people have suggested that extra video footage might show if the thief played in any event this weekend. If he did, somebody might be able to determine what his table number was and (likely) what his name and DCI number would be from there. There haven't been any updates on this from what I've seen, so I'm afraid that he probably didn't play in any events.

    With how well connected the Magic community is in 2016, I'm truly surprised that this case hasn't been wrapped up yet. With the thief's Knicks jacket, I'd have to assume that he's from New York, but that obviously doesn't give us very much information to work with. There's no way that he's completely unknown, though. The security footage just has to be seen by the right few people, I suppose. I sincerely hope we find those few people who can help.

    If you suspect that you've ever seen this person before in your life, please reach out to Shaun Martin. His contact information is in the article I shared above.


  • TMD Supporter

    This truly is a terrible thing to happen and I hope that the thief is caught. People seem to be going to these events just for the sake of stealing items. I don't have a lot of value anymore, but I am paranoid about going to a large event because of this.



  • I'm honestly perplexed that there is not better security at these events. When I went to SSG Open Baltimore after the last large theft a few years back (as well as Eternal Weekend last year), they had security personnel tagging wrists/bags when you entered and you were not allowed out of the convention space if your wrist band did not match your bag id. Admittedly I do not attend a lot of events, but I thought this would be industry standard by this point. I guess if someone is toting anything of value they have to make sure the venue has sufficient security in place now?



  • As a known local Vintage player who does not play any other format (besides EDH) literally the only thing all of my Standard playing friends told me was "DO NOT BRING YOUR EXPENSIVE SHIT".
    I had not been to a GP since Philly in 2005 (a legacy GP, no less) when event security was more concerned with catching folks selling cards on the floor and theft was a huge issue. This was right around the same time that Roland Chang had his bag stolen at Neutral Ground, so the Eternal Community was especially sensitive to theft. A dealer buddy of mine had his binder of playable Japanese Foils stolen right off his booth/table, and there was nothing anyone, including the police were able to do about it. I recall at least one other publicly discussed incident of theft from that GP, since I believe it involved a car being broken in to. Point is, its shocking and disappointing that in 10+ years, it seems little has changed. You can hire as many craigs list security guards as your budget allows, but unless you are willing to enforce bag-to-wristband type entrance/exit checks, this will just continue to happen. People understandably come to these events to trade, wheel & deal with vendors ect,.. I will not blame the victim here especially since the evidence points to this theft being a calculated multi-person act rather than a crime of careless opportunity, but I sincerely hope that folks who roll around with 10's of thousands of dollars in cards learn the lesson that many have had to learn the hard way.



  • Some advice from somebody who spent time as a safety & security officer, 8 years as an insurance claim rep and the past 9 years as an insurance agent:

    1. Be paranoid - know your surroundings. Not just when you sit down, but while you play, while you chat etc. Always keep an eye out on changes in your surroundings: new people coming in. People leaving. Set up. Where your bag/box is. This is the biggest preventative measure you can take but also be aware that no matter what - you are dealing with criminals and thieves. They only need 1 successful opportunity to ruin and your day and no amount of preparation can eliminate 100% of the risk.

    2. Have documentation of your valuable items: pictures of cards in binders, pictures of games with the cards in play, a deck list from the tournament organizer. Receipts from large purchases or documentation of trades of expensive items. Even a picture of you with a cheesy smile on your face fanning the cards out.

    3. Uniqueness - mark your stuff. Cards are often in boxes, in binders and those boxes and binders are often in book bags. Decorate them with stickers, sharpies etc. Just like your mom did with your underpants at summer camp, put your name on any binder, any box and any bag you carry your stuff in. Draw on it, put a scratch on it. Some kind of unique identifier that you can use to differentiate your white box, red binder or black book bag from the other hundred that are there that day.

    4. Have a written list - this is an extension of # 2. Anybody can write down, "I own 3 NM beta black lotus and 5 alpha NM underground seas." But writing out your list ahead of time along with proper documentation can save valuable time if something is stolen. And don't keep the list in your bookbag. A word document or a post online or something you can access. A sheet of paper in your pocket.

    5. Show vendors - when you get there (and not all vendors may appreciate this but its still good advice), take your uniquely marked bookbag and binder to a few vendors and pull out a few pieces and ask for prices on them. Even if you don't really have an intention to sell. No, vendors wont like this because they want to be available to sell product. Don't take up a lot of their time and if they are really busy, crowded etc don't do it. A thief is probably not going to try and make a sale of big ticket stolen goods right there, but 3 weeks later they need to go somewhere to sell those items. And they just make walk into the store of a vendor you were at.

    6. Insurance - my collection, compared to many vintage players is nothing spectacular. I have a few pieces of power, duals, drains etc. But nothing over the top. I collect sets (stuff that will never be with me at tournaments). I have a specialty insurance policy on my collection and its dirt cheap compared to what I spend on the game. $15,000 in coverage for $105 a year. Do NOT rely on your homeowners insurance. Almost any HO policy will a) have a deductible negating a loss for 1 or 2 cards and B) have a limit on collectible cards and memorabilia, usually between $200 and $500. I personally have my insurance thru collectibles insurance service. I don't sell for them. I just found their application very easy, their documentation requirements to be surprisingly simple and easy to meet, they were friendly to work with and (this is the most important) easy to reach customer service when I called them on the phone.



  • @Khahan It's good to know there are companies specializing in insurance for collectibles. I may even start an account with the one you've mentioned. What are your thoughts on using GPS tracking devices as added security for a collection? Would you be able to recommend a brand? I've also been thinking about purchasing a lock box. I think the combination of the two could be effective as an anti-theft device. I've just started doing the research my self but I can't seem to find any tracking devices that specifically use the cell network to transmit their location. It's come as a surprise to me since this seems like the most reliable way to ensure the device will be able to report it's location. If anyone can chime in on this and give me any info on tracking devices and mobile lock boxes that would be effective for storing a collection I'd be really keen to hear anything you have to say.



  • @Aaron-Patten said:

    @Khahan It's good to know there are companies specializing in insurance for collectibles. I may even start an account with the one you've mentioned. What are your thoughts on using GPS tracking devices as added security for a collection? Would you be able to recommend a brand? I've also been thinking about purchasing a lock box. I think the combination of the two could be effective as an anti-theft device. I've just started doing the research my self but I can't seem to find any tracking devices that specifically use the cell network to transmit their location. It's come as a surprise to me since this seems like the most reliable way to ensure the device will be able to report it's location. If anyone can chime in on this and give me any info on tracking devices and mobile lock boxes that would be effective for storing a collection I'd be really keen to hear anything you have to say.

    I've never thought about or looked into a tracking device so I have no clue on that. Closest thing I can think of is the 'find my phone' app if you keep your cell phone in your bag. But that's a bad idea anyway. Keep valuables separated to minimize loss in case of a theft or other event.

    As for the gps, I just did a quick yahoo search out of curiosity. It looks like there are personal gps trackers that could work. I found them to have small dimensions (•Dimensions: W: 2”/5.08cm, H: 2.6”/6.51cm, D: 0.875”/2.22CM), light weight (1.4 ounces) so they would easily fit in a bookbag or a card box. Pricing appears to be anywhere from $50 to $300. And they should all work with a simple app on your cell phone. I'm not going to link any specific site or mention any specific manufacturer because I just don't know enough about them to make an informed decision. But the idea is definitely another good one.


  • TMD Supporter

    Something like this might work. Not sure if they have a setting that notifies you if you item gets out of your sight, would be cool if they did:

    https://chipolo.net/



  • The problem with those small Bluetooth based trackers is that they are 100% reliant on user adoption; thus being totally useless in implementation. I'd go as far as to say they provide peace of mind but no real security net.



  • @Khahan I have to agree 100% on the insurance thing. I also have a personal collection policy in the $35k range in it is literally peanuts compared to the rest of the bill (I have HO and car policies all through the same policy so the collection insurance comes out like a couple dollars a month.)

    The other thing about HO is it doesn't cover any property that is outside your home. So, if someone breaks into your home and steals your cards, you can collect, however if you bring your cards to an event and they get stolen, they were outside your home and not covered.

    Like you said, what is a couple dollars or even $10 a month when your collection is worth 1000x as much.



  • Wow, very demoralizing.

    Is the guy who lost the cards some kind of a dealer? I figure that the quantities he was carrying (6 AR, 7TW etc) were insane.



  • @xXHazardXx said:

    The other thing about HO is it doesn't cover any property that is outside your home. So, if someone breaks into your home and steals your cards, you can collect, however if you bring your cards to an event and they get stolen, they were outside your home and not covered.

    This is 100% not true. I have never seen policy language that did not cover contents that were outside of the house and I've been in the industry handling claims and selling policies since 1998. I've handled claims for people with luggage stolen in Europe and there is definitely coverage. Contents coverage is typically world-wide except for another residence premise.
    Best thing to do though is talk to your personal agent. Some states may have oddities I'm not aware of. And if you have an 'in the house only' policy, get that changed.



  • @Greg I hope they catch this scumbag who stole those cards, and any accomplices.

    It is amazing, though, how he looks exactly like the Gary Oldman villain in The Fifth Element.



  • @Khahan I can only speak from my personal experience, but this is what my State Farm agent told me. He could have been wrong or misinformed... I concede. However, the end (the having the personal collection policy) is the right choice.

    Thanks!


  • TMD Supporter

    The thing that really just gets me mad is that these folks probably go to events with the sole purpose of stealing. I'm sure they walk around again and again looking for the perfect chance to snag something.



  • @Islandswamp said:

    The thing that really just gets me mad is that these folks probably go to events with the sole purpose of stealing. I'm sure they walk around again and again looking for the perfect chance to snag something.

    One tiny bit of comfort is that if someone is doing what you describe it's fairly easy to notice. IFF you're inclined to notice it. It's terrible that attending an event with collections like some posters on these boards have requires constant vigilance and at least a hint of paranoia, but it's still the case.

    I hope they catch these guys and get everything back.


  • TMD Supporter

    @rcwraspy I went to the LGS in my town today. I haven't gone out of the house to play Magic in ages (I had quit for a long time before 2013 and have mostly played MTGO since). My son (age 5) needed me to take him to the bathroom. Without hesitation I walk him to the restroom and wait inside because he's nervous in places he's unfamiliar with. I then realize I've left all of my valuable cards out on a table unattended. Nothing happened, and I didn't think anyone at the shop would mess with my stuff, but I realized that in this day and age letting your guard down like that is a recipe for disaster.



  • @Islandswamp Yeah man, its crazy. I won't even leave my stuff in the car anymore. Whenever we do post event dinners and such the bags come into the restaurant.



  • @rikter said:

    @Islandswamp Yeah man, its crazy. I won't even leave my stuff in the car anymore. Whenever we do post event dinners and such the bags come into the restaurant.

    I've become more cautious with my stuff too. I just don't want to have this exchange with the officer, "Yes sir. The box that was stolen is worth more than the car that it was in. No sir, I'm not joking."



  • This post is deleted!


  • I can't wait to hear that they caught this A-hole. Good that they got it on film. It feels like there's a decent chance they find him.


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