It’s no secret that sci-fi and pop culture memorabilia is a serious business. It’s an industry with many different niches and cliques, but there is no more valuable and competitive corner of the collectible market than that of Star Wars memorabilia. With billions of dollars spent on the franchise every year, there are some huge Star Wars merch collections out there, but none are as big as the collection owned by Steve Sansweet. Unfortunately, that collection has been the subject of a systematic series of thefts.
From Rancho Obi-Wan’s Steve Sansweet: I need to share some distressing news with you because I need your help. In… https://t.co/DYMt8v8WnU
— Rancho Obi-Wan (@RanchoObiWan) June 5, 2017
Known as Rancho Obi-Wan, Sansweet’s collection is the largest in the world; it’s open to the public for tours and can regularly be seen at various comic conventions. Sansweet has become a cult figure among Star Wars fans thanks to his openness with the community and regular efforts to use his collection to raise money for charity.
— Rancho Obi-Wan (@RanchoObiWan) June 15, 2016
This week, Sansweet revealed that more than one hundred valuable items from his collection have been stolen and asked the Star Wars community to help in getting them back.
Dear fellow Star Wars fans and collectors,
I need to share some distressing news with you because I need your help.
In February we at Rancho Obi-Wan found out that we had been the victim of a major theft that surreptitiously took place over many months in late 2015 through 2016.
There were more than 100 valuable items stolen, the majority of them vintage U.S. and foreign carded action figures, many of them rare and important pieces. Most have either been resold or professionally appraised for a total of more than $200,000.
What’s worse is that Sansweet believes the perpetrator of the thefts to be Carl Edward Cunningham, a close friend who has visited his home on a number of occasions.
I have known Carl for many years, considered him a good and trusted friend, and played host to him at my home numerous times. I, and the staff at Rancho Obi-Wan, are devastated that he is the alleged perpetrator of the thefts. Not only have important items been stolen from the collection, but also our time, energy and ability to trust unconditionally have taken a blow.
If you have any information about the missing pieces, Sansweet is asking that you contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org