SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – Jared Teter was on his way to an anniversary trip with his wife on Tuesday morning when he decided to shop by his trading card shop, Crave Collectibles, to drop off some Christmas presents for his team.
He was greeted with an unfortunate surprise when he reached the store, located on the west side of I-15 near 9000 S in Sandy.
“My wife’s like, ‘Somebody broke into your shop!’ And I’m like, ‘No way,’ and the whole window is just gone,” Teter recalls to ABC4.com.
Shards of broken glass covered the green carpet of the card shop, knocking out the letter C of the store’s retro Utah Jazz-inspired logo that welcomed sports and collectible fans alike to the location. Teter and his business partner, Bailey Claunch, had been robbed just two months after opening the store’s doors for the first time.
The haul for the intruders: several sealed packs of basketball and football trading cards, which Teter estimates have a value of a couple of thousand dollars.
“It was like a smash-and-grab scene,” he describes. “It seems as though they knew right where it was.”
Card collecting has become big business lately, with the pandemic serving as an explosion of interest in the hobby. Nowadays, packs of sports trading cards can serve essentially as lottery tickets. The right player card, with a certain limited numbering and a shiny foil or holographic finish, can be worth hundreds or sometimes, thousands of dollars.
An unopened pack carries the chance of holding a winning ticket and thus still can be highly desirable, and in the current climate, scarce and difficult to find on the retail scene. The frenzy around card collecting makes items like the ones stolen from Crave a prime target for thieves.
“Cards are good for that reason, they’re really portable, you can move them around, you can take them to shows, you can have a lot of money in a small, small package,” Teter explains. “So it’s easy to target, and they’ve got value a lot more than they used to have. It’s just a trend. And people are going to target places to have these easy-to-take, valuable items.”
The problem is, however, making money on an individual card can present a more time-consuming task than a possibly desperate criminal may be willing to take. A single individual card of substantial value usually has to be authenticated and appraised for quality, which can take weeks or even months as the industry continues to see a boon. To that end, Teter doesn’t think the thieves will make off with as much as they think they have.
“That’s why we’re successful, we have the avenues and the methods to sell it fast,” he states. “These guys, they’re gonna get maybe half of their take. It’s going to take some time to get it somewhere else and the word is out now, so it’s just foolish. But you know, it’s the world we live in, we got to live with it.”
Despite the setback, Teter has been humbled and grateful for the quick response he’s already gotten from the local card-loving community who have offered to keep an eye out for anyone looking to make a quick buck with the stolen goods. To him, the community is one of the best parts of owning a card shop.
“We’re here for everybody to just come hang out. That’s what we want, to give people a place they can relax, chill out, talk about cards, talk about whatever,” he says. “We’re really part of the community, especially in Utah. And so, from that point of view, we’ve been really fortunate.”
Perhaps even more fortunate than pulling an autographed rookie card with a jersey patch.