I immediately raced to the parking lot to see if I could find any suspicious characters. I saw a group of five guys, early teens or in their early 20s, standing outside a white SUV with all the doors open and the hatch open. A couple of guys were in the car on their stomachs. It looked like they were stuffing things under the seats. I ran and got a Rosemont cop and asked him to check it out. The Rosemont police never checked it out. I went back about an hour later to see if I could get a license plate number but the car was gone.
I was kind of manic. I lost interest in selling or buying cards. I made a crude flier and printed a few hundred copies in the "Exhibitor Services" office. I passed out the fliers to all the vintage dealers at the show, letting them know about the theft. Talking to all the vintage dealers was some good therapy. Most of them had been victimized at some point in their card selling careers. I learned that the dealer behind me had a complete set of '63 Topps baseball stolen around the same time as my binder. He estimated the value of the set at $9,000. Another dealer on the opposite end of the room had a '53 Bowman Color set stolen today. Another dealer, near the front entrance, had a '65 Topps Joe Namath PSA 9 rookie stolen -- estimated value $15,000. One dealer told me her hotel room was burglarized on Thursday night. Another dealer told me how he had a bunch of Goudey Babe Ruths stolen at a show about 15 years ago. Another dealer said he lost about $25,000 worth of cards at a show a few years ago. A dealer from Missouri told me that his brand new Ford pick-up truck was stolen from the parking lot at the '08 National. He had no way to get home or to get his cards out of the show. Most every dealer had some sort of theft story.
I purposely placed the binder in a spot where I thought it would be difficult to steal. I have a walk-in booth and placed the binders in the back. The thieves walked all the way into my booth and slipped the binder in a bag and walked out. I now realize that I have to come up with a better way to protect my cards. I may set up security cameras the next time I do the National. I also think the promoters have to help with security. There needs to be "spotters" in the room looking for thieves. At the extreme end, I would like to see every bag searched before people are allowed to leave the show. Take a photo of the customer, the items in their bag, and a copy of their ID. Theft is rampant at this show and I think it is time to take some extreme measures.
I'm very depressed at the moment. It really sucks!!! I spent a lot of money on those cards. I also spent a ton of time grading and pricing the cards, and placing them in numerical order in the book. @#$%^&*!!!! Though my daughter gave me a hug when I got home from the show and she never gives hugs. So I can't feel too bad. Tomorrow is another day and it is bound to be better than today.