Undercover Operation Recovers Stolen ‘Magic’ Card Collection

By | 1 year ago 

The fantasy trading card game Magic: The Gathering has been going strong for over 20 years, first launched by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. The game pits players against each other as “planeswalkers,” wizard who battle each other using spells, summoned creatures, and magical artifacts. The game has developed a deep and diverse community over the years, with organized tournaments pitting the best against the best, and some players spending thousands of dollars to craft the perfect deck. So just imagine how maddening it would be to have all those years of work stolen away in a random criminal act.

That’s precisely what happened to 23-year-old Kemper Pogue, a native of Prince William County, VA. He faced a frustration many of us have encountered at some point over the years — his car was broken into. Unfortunately, he lost more than just a bunch of old CDs. He had approximately $8,000 worth of Magic: The Gathering cards in the car. All stolen.

As reported by the Washington Post, the thieves took over 300 of Pogue’s prized cards, leaving him understandably upset. Pogue told the Post, “I went in the house, cracked open a beer, had a few sips and promptly started screaming expletives as I waited for the police to arrive. I’d been collecting these cards since I was a kid and over the years they’ve only increased in value.”

Pogue wasn’t going to take the indignity lying down, however. After contacting the police, he also composed a Facebook message to tell his friends in the Magic community about the theft. The next step was to call stores across Virginia and Maryland that specialized in selling and trading Magic cards. It was a longshot, of course. There was no guarantee that the thieves would even realize what they had, nor that they would be foolish enough to try and sell the stolen cards locally.

Magic Deck Recovered in Sting -- Duels

But the thieves’ ignorance of Magic — or at least the loyalty of the Magic community —  put them on a collision course with karma. Sure enough, two men soon attempted to sell a set of Magic cards matching the description of Pogue’s stolen merchandise at a Virginia card store. The owner of the shop was a friend of Pogue’s, so he directed them to a different shop in Springfield…and then contacted the police. The employees at Curio Cavern in Fairfax County, employees of the store were already tipped off and waiting. When the worker they were dealing with determined they didn’t have all the stolen cards with them, he talked them into returning later that night with the rest.

Plainclothes officers were on hand and waiting later that night, but things were complicated by a large Magic tournament that was scheduled to unfold at the store, and the fact that one of the suspects had a history of robbery with a deadly weapon. It was important that nothing tip the suspects off that anything was amiss, but it was also a potentially dangerous scenario. The police informed the tournament players of the situation and gave them the chance to leave before the suspects showed up — but, in a show of solidarity, all of them stayed.

Shortly thereafter, the crooks arrived, the cops descended, and justice was served. Craig Cunningham, a Prince William County police detective assigned to the case, told the Post, “From what I understand, they had at least 10 guys out there plus a canine unit. They were well-prepared to take these guys down and it went very smooth.”

Twenty-year-old Solomon Dyonne Reed was charged with felony possession of stolen property with intent to sell. Police believe the other man with Reed was unaware of the crime, and was thus not charged.

Pogue was understandably elated about how it had all gone down. “We burned ’em!” he told the Post. “We were one step ahead every step of the way.”

Obviously, the Magic community is still strong, devoted, and loyal even two decades in. The game has only expanded over the years, branching out to encompass other media such as novels, comics, and, of course, video games. Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers has been letting Magic gamers compete online since 2009, and it was one of the top Xbox Live Arcade games for that year.

Source: The Washington Post