Real-life Team Rocket robs 35,000 Pokémon cards from a store despite using a blocked entrance, crawling around on their hands and knees, and missing a major release by 2 whole days

Security camera footage of a criminal robbing Tofu's Trading crawling around on their hands and knees.
(Image credit: tofustrading on Instagram)

Card games are serious business—with a massive heist gone wrong at Gencon and an entire art gallery event ruined by hungry scalpers forming just part of the hobby's high-stakes controversies last year. These things are worth a lot of money—and where there's money, there's theft.

As reported by ABC7 news, A store by the name of Tofu's Trading in San Jose was hit by some of these trading card criminals last week—though as the store's manager Amy Simpson pointed out on Instagram, they weren't exactly the brightest yolks in the Exeggcute.

"Guys, guys," says Simpson over the security camera footage of one of the Team Rocket-level criminals crawling around on their hands and knees, while their partner in crime rummages loudly through a cash register. "I know you're all excited about the releases this week … but they release January 26th, on Friday. Not 2 am on a Wednesday," before she points out "Also, that's not the right door."

Speaking to ABC7, Simpson explains that the robbers broke in "through our side door which was kind of ridiculous because there's a fridge blocking it." As for those releases, Simpson's primarily referring to the Paldean Fates expansion which made its debut yesterday in stores—though there were some other major events the thieves missed out on, too.

That unfortunately didn't stop them making off with a large amount of stock, as outlined by a later post on the store's Instagram. This includes 35,000 Pokémon cards, a cash register, Magic: The Gathering boosters, and a bizarre 500 card sleeves (which typically cost around $15-30 for a bulk of that size). Simpson tells ABC7 that she's certain they weren't "in [it] for the hobby, because they didn't know what to take." 

"They can take our products, but they can never take away our love of running a local hobby store in our community," the store's account later wrote. Tofu's Trading hosts a variety of events including leagues and trade nights, with stores in both Japan and the US.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.