San Antonio trading card store owners feel targeted after burglaries cost them more than $20,000 each

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SAN ANTONIO – Great value, easy to sell, hard to trace – the hobby of collecting sports cards has made a comeback, but it’s also attracting the attention of thieves.

Burglars stole merchandise worth $20,000 or more from two local card stores.

More recently, Charlie Dipietro, owner of Sports Cards Plus, said his store was robbed early Monday morning. He said the suspects tried to cut through a metal door but were unable to enter last week.

Victor John Nava, owner of Boomtown Sports Cards and Collectibles, said his store was robbed in April.

“It’s not good for our hobby. It is not good for our communities. It’s just not good at all and it’s really scary,” Nava said.

“The cards I bought a year ago for about $15,000 now cost ($80,000 to) $90,000,” Dipietro said.

The two store owners said the sports cards can be sold virtually anywhere and on many social media platforms. Finding them is almost impossible.

Company owners said the items rarely come with a serial number. If they have one, it usually refers to the manufacturer and not the individual product.

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“There’s no way to prove it. It’s like stealing anything from Walmart. It’s like stealing a shirt, stealing pants. There’s no way to trace it,” Nava said.

For consumers, there is a little more hope to protect their cards.

“If you rate a card, the card has a serial number and it becomes identifiable, so if we’re talking about unique cards, you can protect yourself that way by having it rated,” Dipietro said.

No arrests were made in either burglary.

“It was a pretty stiff kick in our guts. They went straight for the high end stuff. Hobby boxes that cost ($300 to $600). Some boxes on the market are $2,000,” Nava said.

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