Police Arrest Man Who Stole $10K Worth of Magic: The Gathering Cards

February 11, 2016 Updated: February 12, 2016

Police have arrested a man accused of stealing a “Magic: The Gathering” collection worth about $10,000, according to reports.

Michael Thomas Coates, a 33-year-old from Lethbridge, Alberta, was charged with theft of the “Magic” card set.

“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, who is the owner of Kapow Comics Ltd., told GlobalNews.ca.

Coates is accused of stealing the collection at an event held at Kapow Comics on Jan. 22. He allegedly stole the set from another player.

Coates then tried to sell them at another comic book store.

In the magic world you know who has the big collections and that was one of the things that set me off.
— Bobby Hoff, Showcase Comics, Lethbridge

“I didn’t know him very well and he a had a big collection,” said Bobby Hoff, the 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.”

Published in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast (which also publishes “Dungeons & Dragons”), “Magic” has about 20 million players as of 2015. The game is considered to be quite addictive, with some describing it as “cardboard crack.”

Coates faces charges of theft of over $5,000 and possession of stolen property for the purpose of trafficking, CTV reported.

However, the alleged theft pales in comparison to one that happened in Austin, Texas, last month when burglars stole $75,000 worth of “Magic” cards from a store.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that extremely rare cards were also pilfered. Some rare cards can net thousands of dollars each.

Austin police assigned a detective who himself plays “Magic: The Gathering.”

“He understands the value, and he understands what the cards look like,” an Austin police spokesperson said. “I can’t tell you how helpful that is.”