Released last December, Rogue One was billed as a sort of heist film, set in the Star Wars universe. In the film, the good guys (the Rebels) rob the bad guys (the Empire) of the plans to the Death Star, in an effort to save the universe from the Empire’s oppressive rule. Unfortunately, it seems there’s been a real-life Star Wars robbery with a far less noble motive.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the world’s largest Star Wars memorabilia collection may have been slowly and surreptitiously pilfered over the course of several months, and the responsible person(s) may have made away with more than 100 items worth in excess of $200,000.
Steve Sansweet, president of the California-based museum Rancho Obi-Wan, outlined the alleged theft in a letter to fans, posted on the exhibition’s website, and even identified the man whom he suspects of being the perpetrator. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:
“The theft came to light after Philip Wise, a good friend, major collector, and owner of several Star Wars websites, posted news of the theft of his rare prototype rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure from his Texas warehouse. Zach Tann, a respected toy dealer and collector in Southern California, immediately notified Philip that he had purchased that figure from Carl Edward Cunningham, 45, a well-known Star Wars collector and R2-D2 builder from Marietta, Georgia.
Tann further told Philip that he previously had bought many other rare Star Wars collectibles from Carl and sent a detailed list. Philip said that he quickly concluded by the quantity and quality of items that they had likely been stolen from my collection here in Petaluma, California.”
While we’re tempted to make about 50 different Star Wars puns, Mark Hamill said it best with a simple hashtag:
Maybe publish a list of stolen items to protect potential victims from purchasing “hot” merchandise. #TheFraudIsStrongInThisOne #SithHappens https://t.co/coFv1P6HL7
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 5, 2017
Hamill’s tweet was a response to a tweet from Peter Mayhew (below), who plays Chewbacca in Episodes III-VII.
This is despicable. Keep an eye out. Get the word out. @HamillHimself @ThatKevinSmith @jordanhembrough @RanchoObiWan https://t.co/9xX62beSVC
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) June 5, 2017
Sansweet says he first found out about the theft in February, and that Cunningham was arrested on suspicion of grand theft in March, but the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has yet to confirm Sansweet’s version of events. If the allegations are true — and if Cunningham is the Star Wars fanatic that he appears to be — a public rebuke from both Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca is a particularly poetic brand of justice.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted as news breaks.
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