Game and toy stores report spate of burglaries around Vancouver

A store owner said the pandemic has slowed production, making inventory scarce, making these stolen items more valuable when they are resold.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Security cameras captured a man breaking into Toy Box Heroz at Hazel Dell early Thursday morning. Later that morning, cameras caught the returning man with a second guy before leaving with several bags of merchandise. Needless to say, it was a tough day for store owner Nick Burnham.

“It’s frustrating to go in and with everything that’s going on in the world right now,” said Burnham, “it’s just one more thing to add.”

Burnham reported the break-ins to the Vancouver Police Department. He’s still in the process of settling his losses, which include retro video games and action figures worth a few hundred dollars each.

“They got more than they deserve,” Burnham said.

Late Tuesday night, cameras caught a similar break-in at the BatCave Games on southeast Vancouver’s Mill Plain.

“It looks like a violation. It seems intrusive, ”said owner Matt D. Parker.

Parker said he was upset but not surprised by what happened.

“It’s pretty much becoming a model,” Parker said. “If other game stores are looking at this, I would say if you were worried before, you should be a little more worried now.”

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Parker said items sold in the aftermarket are now making a lot of money because new inventory is so scarce. He said production declined during the pandemic, increasing value through supply and demand.

“It’s not like a starving family trying to get Pokémon cards for their kids,” Parker said. “It’s not like a bunch of hungry nerds trying to get their board game fix. These were guys who said, ‘We know there’s money in there, and we want some of that money.’ “

Parker thought his break-in cost him four days of sales. After the year the two owners have had, they hope anyone who recognizes the burglars will notify the police.

“We are all in pain already,” Parker said. “We’re all a little numb. “

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