Thief busts hole in wall, steals 250K in Pokémon goods from Forest Lake shop

Thief busts hole in wall, steals 250K in Pokémon goods from Forest Lake shop
Written by publishing team

Twin brothers Eric and Mike Johnson, co-owners of Punch-Out Gaming, received a harsh blow Thursday morning when a thief broke into their Forest Lake game shop and stole Pokémon merchandise they estimate was worth $250,000.

The thief avoided Punch-Out’s extensive security system by breaking into a vacant store next door, then busting through the wall to enter the gaming store’s storage areas.

“There was a huge hole in the wall, and my mouth just dropped,” Eric Johnson said. “I thought, this looks like ‘Money Heist’ or ‘Oceans 11.’ “

Security footage shows the intruder crawling through the hole, noticing the camera and covering it with tape, leaving fingerprints in the process. The thief removed two room’s worth of inventory without entering the main store, which would have triggered an alarm.

Pokémon items are a hot commodity these days — the value of some trading cards has skyrocketed, in part due to speculators who buy new cards as soon as they arrive at stores, reselling them online for hundreds of dollars. (An assault in the parking lot of a Wisconsin Target related to Pokémon cards led the retailer to temporarily suspend in-store sales.)

Johnson noted that the thief focused on Pokémon, leaving behind a brand-new X-Box One gaming system as well as the store’s bank cash bag. Unfortunately, Johnson said, distributors are mostly sold out of the stolen Pokémon cards, so the inventory will be difficult to replace.

“This is our life, eight years of doing this, and someone just violated the heck out of us,” he said.

Yet the brothers have been heartened by the support of Punch-Out fans, who have been watching online selling platforms for the stolen goods. “The community has been amazing,” Johnson said.

The Forest Lake Police Department is asking anyone with information to call 651-464-5877.

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