Pokemon, sports card thefts on the rise in Guelph, shops and police confirm

Almost $13,000 worth of trading cards were stolen from three businesses in Guelph in the past month, and police in that city say they have noticed an uptick in these kinds of thefts.

“Both in thefts of sports cards and non-sports cards and most often its shoplifting type calls, but also we’ve noticed a couple of recent break and enters, where among other things, cards were stolen as well,” said Scott Tracey, Guelph Police spokesperson told CBC News.

On Sept. 13, police said three suspects stole more than $11,000 worth of sports cards from a Woodlawn Road business. Two days later, police arrested a man after he allegedly took $1,000 worth of sports cards from a Woodlawn Road business.

Most recently on Sept. 26, police said $700 worth of Pokemon cards were taken from a business on Woodlawn Road.

Tracey said these kinds of thefts are often hard to track down because often the cards don’t have a serial number they can track, which also makes it difficult to return the cards to their rightful owner.

“It really is quite difficult. There’s nothing differentiating one hockey card or Pokemon card from another,” he said.

Waterloo regional police said in July and August there were several reports of Lego thefts, but also trading card thefts from big box stores and toy stores.

Jenn Haines, owner of The Dragon in Guelph, which sells games and comic books, says the issue of trading card thefts is not new and there’s a large open market to resell stolen cards. (The Dragon/ Facebook)

Guelph business owner says problem is not new

Jenn Haines, who owns the games and comic book store The Dragon in downtown Guelph, says the issue of trading card thefts is not new.

“These are collectable items. There’s always a chance when opening a pack of Pokemon or baseball cards, that you’re going to get something that is worth potentially $50 to $100,” she told CBC News.

Haines added that there’s an open online market on platforms like Facebook Market Place, Kijiji or TCG Player to buy and resell trading cards without really knowing if they have been stolen.

“This problem is not a new one at all, it’s been going on for quite sometime and the ease of being able to make money off it is part of it,” she said, adding nostalgia also plays a role.

That was one of the reasons her store stopped buying single cards or trade-ins of certain decks. 

“During the pandemic we stopped accepting single cards as trade-in and part of it was because of this reason, knowing there’s a grey area and there’s a real market for reselling these stolen cards,” she said.

Haines said depending on the card and how limited the collection is, some cards can go for up to a couple of hundred dollars. But even rarer cards can go into the thousands, she said.

In those cases, a store would get the cards professionally graded and tagged with a serial number. 

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