A thief steals rare comic books from a local store amidst the collectible’s price hike

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Todd Berndt, owner of Berndt Comics, has been collecting comic books and action figures for 40 years.

“When I first started collecting, I was into superheroes,” Berndt said.

Over the years, Berndt said he’s seen the world of comic books change and turn into a high-value hobby.

Unfortunately, any company that deals with collectible items also has to deal with people trying to steal valuables, and Berndt Comics is no exception.

On Sunday, a burglar broke into protective bags at the store off Coliseum Boulevard inside the Vintage Treasures Antique Mall, escaping with thousands of dollars’ worth of comic books.

One of the comic books that was stolen, a rundown edition of X-Men #95, had a value of only $800.

Berndt Comics said this version of X-Men #95 rated, valued at roughly $800, was one of the stolen items.

Berndt said he has dealt with clients who have attempted to steal small items in the past, but nothing of this magnitude.

“[I’ve seen] “Younger people try to take books and cards and things like that, but nothing that big where they really break in and take loads,” Berndt said.

In addition to Berndt Comics; Sport Spot and Summit Sports, Comics & Games, two other Fort Wayne collectibles stores; They also dealt with similar issues in the past.

Ron Streisle, owner of the Sport Spot, said he had “strengthened everything” in terms of security at the store.

Summit Sports floor manager Brad Bohland said the store tries to keep high-value items out of reach to prevent thefts.

However, according to Berndt, the security measures are not foolproof.

“We get a little bit of everything, but there’s only so much you can do,” Berndt said.

The latest theft highlights the skyrocketing prices of popular collectible items including comic books, sports cards and video games.

Berndt said that some comics, such as Action Comics #1, the first comic book issue to feature Superman, have increased in value by millions of dollars since he began collecting comics.

“You have people who are hardcore collectors. You have investment people who work in it for investment purposes,” Berndt said. “Like anything else — baseball cards, coins, artwork — you have to put your money somewhere, so if you have disposable income, you can Dispose of it in something else.”

Another item stolen, a scaled-down version of Batman #423, has an estimated value of about $450.

In 2021, eBay released a Trading Cards Status report Which highlights the rising popularity of certain collectibles.

From 2020 to 2021, eBay reported that the trading card category on its site grew 142% with more than 4 million cards sold on eBay in 2021 compared to 2020.

“I have not seen [explosion] said Strassel, whose store primarily focuses on sports cards.

Whatever the case for Hobbies, Berndt said thefts like what happened on Sunday can do irreparable damage to small businesses like Berndt Comics.

“You can go to eBay any day, click and buy,” Berndt said. “But finding them in the wild or buying them from another collector is kind of difficult.”

Bohland said he has his shop List of stolen items From Berndt Comics in an effort to spread the word about what was stolen so people can follow along.

More than anything, Berndt is just hoping he can get his holdings back.

“Some books I appreciate. I’ve had them since I was a little kid,” Berndt said. “They are still part of my collection or part of me until I sell them to someone else or pass them on to another collector.”

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