St. Louis comic store owner Martin Casas worked with police on Friday to set up a sting operation to bust the thieves
Karma came quickly for a pair of St. Louis thieves who were busted on Friday for stealing a man’s massive collection of comics then trying to sell the books back to a store their victim owned.
Comic book fanatic Martin Casas, owner of Apotheosis Comics & Lounge, was horrified when the storage locker he rented to stockpile his 3,000 book collection was burglarized.
The boxes of beloved comics he’d purchased over the last three decades appeared to be gone forever.
‘I was pretty heartbroken about it,’ Casas told Fox 2 Now. ‘A lot of my comics were not high in value, but mostly were collected for [sentimental] purposes (trips I’ve taken, the month my daughter was born, gifts, etc) and some I’ve had for over 30 years,’ he added in a Facebook post.
A ray of hope emerged after Casas filed a police report and informed the staff at his store to be on the lookout for anyone looking to sell a lot of comics.
Casas was horrified recently when the storage locker (seen above) he rented to stockpile his 3,000 book collection of graphic novels was burglarized
The boxes of beloved comics (pictured) Casas purchased over the last three decades appeared to be gone forever but have now been recovered
A few days later, a Chesterfield, Missouri woman called and offered to sell a box of books before dropping them off for inspection on Thursday and providing her name and phone number.
Casas knew the box was his when he saw, ‘Cap,’ written on the side. He’d previously scribbled the word on his box of Captain America comics. Scanning through the graphic novels, he also found a valuable third installment of the Captain America Truth series he owned. He recognized the small red mark on the corner of the book.
‘It’s my box,’ Casas said.
A few days later, a Chesterfield, Missouri woman called Casas’s store, Apotheosis Comics & Lounge, and offered to sell a box of books before dropping them off for inspection on Thursday
Casas recognized the box of Captain America comics he’d purchased after noticing the word ‘Cap’ he previously wrote on the side of the box
St. Louis Police helped Casas set up a Friday morning sting to bust the burglars
The merciful store owner took pity on the comic crooks and so far he has declined to press charges
The store owner called St. Louis Police again. The department’s burglary division agreed to help him set up a sting to bust the burglars.
He called the female thief back and scheduled a 10am Friday appointment to talk business, convincing her to bring and sell him the rest of the books she had as well.
Casus spent the rest of the day searching the woman’s Facebook page where he found a treasure trove of what turned out to be goods that were stolen from other storage units, including Louis Vuitton purses, Air Jordan sneakers, and 20-inch rims.
On the day of reckoning, the woman called and said she couldn’t make it in until 2pm. Eventually she arrived with her boyfriend who waited outside with the rest of the stolen books.
‘I had to pretend I didn’t know who this person was, even though I’d been obsessively looking at her Facebook page for the last 24 hours,” Casas says.
Officers called Casas Friday night and told him to come into the station to pick up the rest of his precious comics
Two officers hiding in the store eventually confronted the woman at the store counter with their guns drawn. Another officer nabbed her boyfriend, who goes by the nickname, ‘Wicked,’ outside.
One or both of the thieves eventually revealed where the investigators could find the rest of Casas’s comics and a pile of other stolen goods.
The merciful store owner took pity on the comic crooks and so far he has declined to press charges.
‘No one ever wakes up and says, “I want to grow up and break into storage units,'” Casas told the Riverfront Times.
Officers called Casas Friday night and told him to come into the station to pick up the rest of his precious comics.
‘It was absolutely the most bizarre 24 hours of my life,’ he said.