LETHBRIDGE – Lethbridge police are one step closer to solving the mystery of the stolen collectible Magic: The Gathering cards.
Their investigation began at Kapow Comics Ltd. in Lethbridge and ended with 33 year-old Micheal Thomas Coates being charged with theft.
“The person who had their magic cards stolen was sitting down playing some games and his binder was in his back pack,” said Wallie Desruisseaux, owner of Kapow Comics Ltd.
The charges came after Coates allegedly stole a $10,000 collection of cards at an event being held at Kapow comics on Jan. 22 from another collector. The following day, police say Coates tried to sell them at showcase comics in lethbridge.
“I didn’t know him very well and he a had a big collection,” said Bobby Hoff, owner of Showcase Comics in Lethbridge. “In the magic world you know who has the big collections and that was one of the things that set me off.”
The fantasy trading card game “Magic” was produced in 1993, and it continues to thrive with approximately twenty-million players worldwide,
“It’s the biggest game being played/board game out there. It’s been around forever. They have tournaments in the states where this is thousands of people compete in tournaments in Las Vegas,” explained Hoff.
The game pins players against each other as “planeswalkers” – wizards 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 growing in Lethbridge.
“We will get between 20 and 40 people for an event here and upwards to 75 for big events. People don’t understand because it’s underground,” said Desruisseaux.
The value of a single card can be worth thousands of dollars so Desruisseaux says you can imagine how maddening it would be to have all those years of work stolen away in a random criminal act.
“Well imagine losing your wedding ring or car. It’s that kind of value and he was quite upset.”
Lethbridge police recovered 35 cards, but the remaining 350 cards of the collection have vanished and remain a mystery. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 403-328-4444.