§ August 9th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on TRUE CRIME STORIES.

So we’ve actually been robbed like this once before, about…geez, nearly 18 years ago now? When we were still in the small shop across the street from where we are now (from about two moves ago), someone busted into our small side window, climbed down the wall (demolishing a bunch of metal role-playing game figurines in the process), walked past the glass case with thousands of dollars’ worth of comics, and stole the register drawer. Total loss: about twenty bucks or so in coins, plus whatever it cost to replace the drawer and the broken window.

We were lucky with this latest robbery, for the most part…according to the alarm company records, about one minute elapsed between the motion detector picking up something moving in the store and registering the opening of the back door. So the burglar (or burglars – who knows?) spent one panicked minute running around our shop in the dark, burglar alarm blaring, searching through the glass cases for something to take until they decided on Witchblade, Spawn, some variant covers, and a few other recent books.

Now, I received some incredulous responses to the fact that Witchblade and Spawn comics were stolen. Here’s how my several explanations at the shop went on Wednesday:

Customer (upon seeing the mess): “Wow, what happened?”

Me: “Someone broke into the store this morning.”

Customer: “Did they steal anything?”

Me: “Yeah…they got some Witchblade and Spawn comics.”

Customer: (laughs) “No, really, what’d they steal?”

I figure whoever did this was just a kid, or someone only superficially familiar with the collectible aspect of comics, recognized Witchblade and Spawn and some recent “hot” books, and decided that’s what they had to have. (Thanks, Wizard!) They may have some pricey book values, but, as commenter Michael notes, this isn’t 1995 any more. The days of Spawn and Witchblade = quick turnover for big cash are pretty much over.

At any rate, it seemed like a lot of effort for such little result. But, then again, grabbing a royal buttload of EC Comics and trying to unload them would stick out more than trying to sell the relatively common recent books that actually were stolen. I did put out a call to some nearby stores to keep an eye out…not sure if the comics will turn up at any of them, but you never know.

  • Aside #1: I had in the process of dealing with an e-mail inquiry about the two copies of Witchblade #2 that we had in stock. I had removed them from the case to describe their conditions to the potential buyer via e-mail, but then I put them back in the case so I wouldn’t lose track of them. Oops. Now, I have to e-mail this poor customer and explain what happened. “Yeah, those comics you wanted? Someone broke in and stole them. …No, really, they were stolen. Honest.”
  • Aside #2: I did find one copy of Witchblade #3 from the case dumped on the floor near the end of the other glass case, where presumably our after-hours customer kneeled down to rummage through our piles of those stupid and worthless old ECs. When we explained to one of our regulars, who had been eying the Witchblades for purchase for a few weeks, what had happened and that we only had the one pricey Witchblade left…he bought it right away. Just in case the robbers decided to come back for it.
  • Aside #3: A long time ago, someone broke into the storage unit of one of our then-current employees and stole his comics. A couple weeks later, someone came into the shop with comics to sell…and yes, you guessed it, it was the employee’s collection. (The several 1960s Archie bowling covers were what clinched it.) We grabbed the box from the guy, who took off when he realized the jig was indeed up. I don’t think we’ll be lucky enough for the comics from yesterday’s robbery to just walk back in the door like that…but since we’re probably not dealing with criminal masterminds here, who knows?
  • Aside #4: Some register change was accidentally left out in plain view of whoever broke in. The burglar(s) walked by actual cash money to steal Spawn and Witchblade.
  • Aside #5: In another “long time ago” story, someone at the shop had left the front door to the store unlocked…and when the alarm went off, at 2 in the morning, I was the only person the alarm company could contact. And, naturally, I was also the person who lived farthest away from the store. So I got up, drove to the store, checked things out, determined nothing was stolen…best guess was that, since it was a windy night, the wind might have blown the door open a bit and set off the alarm. Ever since then, though many years have passed, to this very day I compulsively check the front door after closing to make sure it’s locked. I can watch an employee walk to the front door, stick the key in the lock, turn the key, rattle the door to ensure it’s locked…and I’ll still have to go over there and check the door. Even if I’m the one who locked the door, I’ll still double check it.

    Now I’m going to spend my time after closing checking the ceiling. I’m going to have to get out the ladder so I can rattle the roof and make sure it’s shut.

  • Aside #6: Former employee Nathan: “Hey, what happened?”

    Me: “Someone broke into the store. What a drag.”

    Nathan: “Oh, yeah? Someone was shot to death at my new job’s front entrance!”

    Me: “…”

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