Card Theft at GP Baltimore (or, “I was lucky to escape Mos Eisley with all my cards”)
By now, you might have heard some awful things that happened at GP Baltimore this past weekend. The most egregious of which were:
- Justin Parnell’s cube, and a binder collection of staple cards, was stolen.
- Eric Klug’s laptop was stolen (from inside his car)
I also had a friend of mine either lose or have stolen his Standard deck in between rounds. He doesn’t have much hope of getting that back, as it was a typical Finkel-derived UW Spirits list with no remarkable defining qualities.
One hopes that Klug’s laptop has a unique identification of some sort so that it can be recovered easily if the culprit tries to unload it for cash. And otherwise, an insurance policy on his computer may help him buy a replacement.
Justin’s problem, is another sort entirely. His loss was a fully-foiled powered cube (with custom foil proxies for cards unavailable in foil, like Underground Sea and Black Lotus). The kind of collection that takes a long time and a lot of trading and spending to accomplish. It’s a labor of love of the game, and really, with the time and effort of selecting cards to produce a specific play environment, a work of art.
And someone took that from him.
While Justin is busy trying to work with the local authorities and alert vendors, card shop owners, traders, and buyers, the community is speaking up. We are spreading the word. We’re helping out.
Lee McLeaod (@gardevi on twitter) posted a message from Justin on his facebook page regarding the incident and his efforts to recover his belongings. Justin is not asking for anything from us, and yet there is a groundswell of support, from twitter retweets, to magic podcast blog posts, to a repost on reddit, and in an impressive showing, a facebook group dedicated to getting him his cube back, or a new facsimile.
It’s stuff like that that makes me proud to be a part of the Magic community.
I want to help out in whatever small way I can. I don’t know him very well, but we have a common bond, in Magic, and in Cube. I know that what was taken from him is more than just cardboard. It was his way of connecting with like-minded people at his local store and at larger events.
So I want anyone reading this to let his message serve as a call to action:
“I want everyone’s efforts to be on stopping this from happening again to anyone.
Though I’m certainly a victim, I’m not the only victim. Theft is getting worse and worse at events, and we as a community need to stand up and make sure we do our part individually and as the great community we are to put a clamp on this. From this point on, I am going to be laser focused on bringing these and other thieves to justice. No one should have to go through this nightmare that I have.”
I want everyone to not just realize that theft happens. Or just understand that you need to watch your bag, or tie the strap around your left leg and right arm while trying to play a card game. To be fearful that your belongings might be gone in the blink of an eye amongst 1500 other people in a convention hall.
I want everyone to spread the word that this shit is not acceptable.
It’s sad, that a game –nay, a hobby, as calling it a “game”, like casual Monopoly, or a passing fad like Skyrim, is a cheap comparison to something that millions of people play, test strategy for, and engross themselves in for years through changing card sets, rules, and game types– a hobby that has collectible value due to popularity, has to deal with what is essentially organized crime. A ring of thieves at a large event, preying on others just trying to have fun. We have too much fun, so people want to take it from us.
So, go to your local store. Tell the owners to take a hard-line stance on theft. Tell the awkward-shifty players, the maybe-cheaters, the trade rip-off artists, that you watch out for them, and that theft (and cheating) are abhorrent behavior that makes people want to stop playing, and makes people stop enjoying themselves.
Speak out online. Make your voice heard to your tournament organizers and to Wizards of the Coast. Maybe get some top-down design ideas, so to speak.
I don’t know what formal solutions could be enacted to help curb bad behavior at large events. I don’t know what action plans tournament organizers have for reports of theft, or any other emergency for that matter. But something needs to be done. Not answering the problem just means more of this:
tinyj316 (reddit): its shit like this (stealing cards) that make me very apprehensive about going to big events
@seanmcclay (twitter): “Never a more wretched hive of scum and villany.” This actually describes most Magic events quite well.
Jeph Foster (facebook): I’m friends with Justin in passing. However, theft is plaguing the magic community, especially in Baltimore.
This needs to be dealt with. Hard.
If you would like to help Justin with his efforts, please do so. You can contact him at @Jparnell1 on twitter if you have any information that might lead to recovery of his cards. Matt Scott is spearheading a fundraiser through the facebook cube recovery group, and if you’d like to donate the instructions for doing so are posted there.
If you are in a position to look out for the specific cards in his cube (like a store owner, or you do a lot of trading for high-value items), please see the specific list of cube cards here, and watch out for cards that may be very unique, such as signed foils.
I hope that everything can be recovered, and even if not, I hope Justin’s loss can serve as part of a larger message to the community that we need to find a way to keep people straight, and help watch out for each other’s belongings. I want everyone to be able to feel safe at large events.
I want people to have fun.