Magic the Gathering collection for Sale

Revenge of the nerds? ‘Magic: The Gathering’ thief caught in elaborate trap.

unnamed-1When you look at the mythical realm of “Magic: The Gathering, ” a place ruled by goblins, dragons, wizards and spells, there's nothing much more valuable to a critical player than their “deck” — the 60 select handmade cards wielded among rivals like swords in battle.

A strong deck with first-edition cards and musician autographs usually takes many years to amass and bring 1000s of dollars. A single, signed Ebony Lotus card — the ultimate goal among “Magic: The Gathering” enthusiasts — will cost you whenever $29, 000 on e-bay now.

Having your deck stolen — apparently, maybe not an uncommon occurrence at secret tournaments — will not just represent a monetary blow to victims; it is a potentially damaging private setback besides.

This explains the reason why Kemper Pogue, a 23-year-old secret fanatic from Woodbridge, Va., had the next response after thieves broke into his vehicle a week ago and swiped 300 prized credit cards really worth about $8, 000:

“I went in the home, cracked open a beer, had a few sips and immediately started screaming expletives when I waited when it comes to police to-arrive, ” he told The Washington Post. “I’d already been collecting these cards since I had been a young child and through the years they’ve just increased in price.

“I was horrified.”

He had been in addition mad.

After processing a police report, Pogue made a decision to do just what a secret character like Garruk Relentless might do, and hunted down his opponents with dogged ferocity — sans the battle axe.

He started by publishing reveal message on Facebook to alert buddies within the Magic community concerning the theft. Then, he started calling shops in Northern Virginia and Maryland that specialize in offering Magic trading cards.

Draft time! Listed here is a pack of Guildpact. Which among these would you choose? #mtg #magicthegathering

— MTG Assist (@MTGAssist)

Unless the thieves were big fans associated with the game as well, Pogue figured he understood a thing that the perpetrators didn’t: Despite its quickly developing ranks, the secret community is not just fanatical and obsessive, it’s in addition a tight-knit, nerds-only clubhouse, where details about players and cards circulates rapidly via local stores, tournaments and online forums on Reddit and somewhere else.

“There aren’t numerous real items that may be taken which have that much feeling of neighborhood mounted on all of them, ” Pogue stated. “Cards have got all these thoughts and conversations with them from individuals you’ve met from coast to coast. When secret players notice that a collection happens to be stolen, it’s heartbreaking in addition they rally around one another to have it back.”

The Hasbro online game, invented in 1993, does not occur in some extra-obscure corner associated with the basement-dwelling video gaming community. It’s a $250 million-a-year brand name with about 20 million people and fans around the globe. And the ones players are, really passionate about their particular cards.

Craig Cunningham, a Prince William County police detective which worked the case, said he knew about Pokemon, but he’d never heard of “Magic: The Gathering” and had been shocked to understand, upon Googling, exactly how much the cards could be really worth. Cunningham doesn’t believe he had been alone who underestimated the cards’ price.

Solomon Dyonne Reed. (Prince William County Police)“we don’t think the bad guys previously discovered how much worth they were dealing with, ” the investigator told The Post. “We’re speaking about cards which can be costly and unusual. You can’t only dump it at a pawn store because that’s too dangerous.”

Not comprehending their particular product would show to be their undoing. The initial break appeared a day later from a card store in Virginia, in which an owner — a buddy of Pogue’s — reported that two men had also come in looking to sell cards matching the information of Pogue’s collection, authorities stated. The guys appeared like novices hawking stolen merchandise, the property owner believed, so he redirected them to a well known gaming store in Springfield labeled as Curio Cavern, where Pogue is a normal.

The two men arrived within Springfield location — in Fairfax County — another mid-day and were satisfied by a shop employee currently on the lookout for the suspected thieves, Pogue said. The guys informed the employee they wished to make a deal, but he realized that they only had about a third associated with the presumably stolen cards in their possession, shop owner Tom Haid informed The Post.

The staff member, hoping to buy more some time access the others of Pogue’s collection, asked the pair to go back that evening, at 8, to help make a deal with their manager.

The males reluctantly agreed.

With Haid, Pogue and authorities working together a more elaborate trap ended up being set that evening at Curio Cavern. Two plainclothes Fairfax County cops would wait inside the shop while much more officials will be situated in the parking area.

An indication saying “Be back five minutes” would-be placed on the establishment’s front door to keep the suspects from entering the building. Concealing in an unmarked automobile, the worker that has previously interacted using guys would after that make an effort to validate their particular identities so authorities could surround all of them to make an arrest.

It could be, Pogue said, the best “revenge regarding the nerds” scenario. But two hurdles stayed: Police informed Haid, the shop owner, this 1 associated with the suspects had a criminal history that included burglary with a deadly tool. There clearly was a chance, authorities stated, the man might be equipped or try to rob the company.

Further complicating the sting had been a 20-person Magic event scheduled to happen inside building that evening. But with no guarantee they’d ever see the suspects again, an increasingly nervous Haid stated he accepted the operation.

At 7:30 that evening, as engrossed secret players chatted quietly at a number of tables inside building, Haid made an announcement.

‘There is a pair of dangerous criminals with a history of armed burglary to their solution to the building, ” he informed the team. “You each one is welcome to leave, however if you’re worried, right now is the time to escape Dodge.”

This handout photo reveals police looking through stolen secret: the Gathering cards when they were restored during a sting in Springfield. (Thanks To Kemper Pogue)

Just what took place next nearly brought Haid to rips as he recounted it over the telephone a few days later: no body relocated.

“We had men and women right here who have had their particular collections taken at significant occasions plus it sucks, ” he told The Post. “It’s daunting in certain cases plus they understood immediately how important it was because of this procedure to happen and also for the neighborhood to have accurate documentation of it.”

Once the males showed up about half an hour later, the ruse worked to perfection, he stated. Rebuffed by the sign, the guys took a seat on a bench next to the entry way using the stolen card collection in hand. Plus they waited.

Haid stated the second thing he heard had been the noise of dogs barking and sounds yelling during the guys getting on the ground. Fairfax County police officers who had previously been concealing in unmarked cars and behind the shop streamed to the parking lot with weapons drawn.

“From the things I understand, they'd about 10 men out there plus a canine unit, ” Cunningham, the authorities detective from Prince William County, told The Post. “They had been well-prepared to just take this business down also it moved very smooth.”

Fairfax police declined to discuss the actual situation.

Pogue, who'd left town for a funeral and wasn't present for sting, heard the good thing a couple of minutes later whenever a buddy at store delivered him an exultant text that males was indeed captured.

Solomon Dyonne Reed, 20, of Woodbridge, has been faced with crime control of stolen residential property with intent to sell, based on Fairfax County General District Court records.

Solomon Dyonne Reed. (Prince William County Police)

Cunningham said Reed has also been faced with grand larceny in Prince William County, in which the theft occurred.

Others guy just who stumbled on the shop wasn't charged; investigators don’t believe he was involved in the theft of Pogue’s cards.

Those valuable cards stay in a Fairfax police proof room, but Pogue stated he expects to possess them in his control shortly.

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