“Chief Wiggum, is this a bust?!”
“Uhh, yeah. That’s exactly what this is, a bust”.
I have to wonder if this has anything to do with my inability to find those G1 reissues of Ravage/Rumble and Laserbeak/Frenzy the past couple of weeks across my local Walmart stores.
Jokes and anecdotes aside, last Thursday police in Medicine Hat apprehended a 37-year-old man who had been dealing in fraudulent transactions across several large retailers throughout Southern Alberta and neighboring Saskatchewan for the past six weeks as per a report covered by Canadian media.
Authorities seized $30,000 Canadian in merchandise which included several DVDs and DVD boxsets, but the bulk of the items retrieved were Transformers action figures. Charles Dale Glasier; the aforementioned 37-year-old was taken into custody at the culmination of the six-week investigation, which discovered that Glasier had been obtaining various lines of Transformers from G1 reissues to Siege to Studio Series along with several DVDs and DVD boxsets, thanks to fradulent practices, snagging them at a fraction of their MSRP, according to the article.
Man, I know just as well as anyone what it’s like to have the collector’s bug, but this was definitely “more than meets the eye”.
In all seriousness, the marketplace in Canada is far smaller than it is with my neighbor to the south, America as well as abroad in Asian countries such as China and Hong Kong. Despite this reduced marketplace and the increased difficulties us Canadian toy collectors face in trying to find a particular score within our own borders, for myself and I’m sure for others, the thrill is in the hunt. So, to walk into a Walmart or a Toys R Us knowing that a toy we had our eye on just a few days previous has now disappeared from the shelves is disheartening.
It’s one thing if there was only one left and another shopper beat you to the punch, that’s part of the hunt, but it’s another thing when; as I mentioned above about the G1 cassettes, there were dozens on the rack and they’ve vanished in less than 48 hours.
Could it have been the result of an everyday shopper? Sure. Could it also have been due to Glasier pinching these items at a reduced price only to turn around and resell them at a massive profit? From the $30,000 worth of merchandise authorities obtained with his arrest, undoubtedly. Glasier is currently facing over $10,000 in charges from stolen property to one count of global fraud and is awaiting a bail hearing as we speak.
This case wasn’t the first of its kind though, and it certainly won’t be the last as retailers report up to $8 million in losses per day alone at the hands of theft and shoplifting, with up to $3 billion every single year according to the Retail Council of Canada.