Surveillance video shows burglars stealing 30,000 Pokémon cards in San Jose

San Jose police detectives are searching for several burglary suspects wanted in connection to an unusual crime. 

Surveillance cameras captured the criminal deed in progress Wednesday. At least three burglars, crouched in the dark, rummaged through Tofu’s Trading in Downtown San Jose.

"A lot of card shops and owners I know have had the same problem, and they’ve also been hit as well," said store manager and co-owner Amy Simpson, as she stood in front of a glass display case that was nearly empty of merchandise.

She said the crew entered through a boarded-up exterior space that’s a door inside. The doorway, however, is blocked by a refrigerator on the inside. Once the trio made their way inside, they rummaged through cases of merchandise, stealing over 30,000 Pokémon cards.

"I think they didn’t realize what it was necessarily. They just kind of took what they could. They took our register. And then they took some high-end product as well," said Simpson. "Yeah, we’re pretty much cleared out of that now."

Pokémon cards date back to the 1990s. Over the decades, its popularity has soared, leading fans to spend large amounts of money to immerse themselves in the games.

"It’s something I grew up with I was a fan of. I played the trading card game. And played the hand-held game when I was a young kid. So part of that is nostalgia. But over time, it just evolves and still love it still enjoy it still have a great time with it," said Ulysses Pena, a store patron and Pokémon fan.

Managers with Tofu’s Trading said this was the first burglary but not the first act of theft. Last summer, two people acted. One sat in a getaway car, while the other cased the store, then ran out with six booster boxes of Pokémon cards. The pair still have not been caught.

San Jose police weren’t available to talk about this latest crime. Managers at the store said their losses likely stretch into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"People, unfortunately, when they see an opportunity will take that kind of risk. And unfortunately, small business owners are the ones that take the hit," said Pena.

Managers said things could have been worse for their four-year-old brick-and-mortar business. That’s because a new release of cards happened two days after the crime occurred.

"That includes palates for Pokémon, spy family, granite archive, and the new one-piece set," said Simpson. "We thought it was funny that they came on a Wednesday. And we were like, ‘guys, not Wednesday, Friday.’"

San Jose police investigators ask any who might recognize the criminals to call police.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv