Target Temporarily Pulls Pokemon, Sports Cards As Collectors Turn To Violence

Pokemon and other sports trading cards will only be available online, the retailer said.

If you’re among those who “gotta catch ’em all,” starting Friday you’ll need to catch them somewhere other than Target’s brick-and-mortar stores.

The retailer has temporarily pulled Pokemon and other sports trading cards from its shelves after a 35-year-old man was physically assaulted as he left a store in Wisconsin last week, reportedly over trading cards.

The assailants, four men ranging in age from 23 to 35 years old, fled after the shopper pulled out a handgun. Police in Brookfield, Wisconsin, told Patch the man has a valid concealed carry permit. No shots were fired, and the four men were later arrested.

“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target said in a statement to HuffPost. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14.”

Collectors can still find them on Target’s website.

Target tried addressing the issue in other ways before cutting off in-store sales. However, it seems implementing purchase limits and banning people from camping out before stores opened weren’t sufficient.

Trading card values skyrocketed during the pandemic, as demand grew and supply failed to keep up.

In January, an unopened box of first-edition Pokemon cards set a record at auction, netting a cool $408,000.

The Pokemon Company said Friday that its production line was “at maximum capacity,” adding that global shipping constraints have also contributed to supply issues.

Those supply issues have turned into quick profits for shoppers who are able to procure the cards.

“Hidden Fates Elite Trainer Boxes,” available at Target for $49.99, could be flipped on eBay for around $150 in April, Vice News found. And some rare cards made available in “Shining Fates” tins, which retailed for $29.99, could fetch between $600 and $800.

The market frenzy includes other collectible cards as well. In February, a mint-condition Michael Jordan rookie basketball card sold for $738,000; the same item sold for almost $215,000 weeks earlier.

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