Bloke caught stealing £60k worth of Pokemon cards as he tried to sell ’em all

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A warehouse worker has been found guilty of stealing Pokemon cards worth £60,000 from his boss and hiding them at his mum's house.

Kyriacos Christou, 28, admitted stealing the cards as he picked orders for an online business that sells the Japanese trading cards for hundreds of pounds online.

At a sentencing hearing it was revealed that Christou, who lives with his mum, was caught out when his boss became suspicious and set up secret cameras.

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After Christou's arrest, half a million cards were found at his mum's house in Edmonton, the court heard.

Prosecutor Nick Cribb said: "The defendant, who knew his Evolutions pre-release Charizard Holo from his Granbull V Full Art Ultra Rare, stole over £60,000 of stock from his employer and listed them for sale on his own eBay account."

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The value of Pokemon cards fluctuates but items like a 'SM Ultra Prism Booster Pack', which contain ten cards, sells for £15, with a box of those packs costing £750, it was said. rarer cards can sell for thousands of pounds.

Wood Green Crown Court heard Christou had set up an eBay account to sell cards stolen from Magic Madhouse Limited in Enfield.

Business owner Michael Duke, 38, noticed stock worth thousands of pounds had gone missing just before Christmas last year, and by April decided to install covert cameras to catch the thief.

He looked over the footage and saw Christou opening a box he had not been asked to go through and pocketing several cards.

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Police were called and Christou initially denied theft – but the cards were found in his pocket and he admitted stealing from Mr Duke on several other occasions.

Mr Duke also found Christou's eBay account and claims Pokemon cards listed for sale match the ones missing from the warehouse.

Sales from the account included a box of cards sold for up to £520 and a bundle of 22 rare 'Holo' cards that Christou sold for £450.

One buyer spent £600 on a set of stolen Japanese 'World Promo' cards, the court heard.

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Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Duke said one of the most valuable cards stolen was one of 32 given to the top players of a World Championship Pokemon game.

This has since been returned to him, Mr Duke says, but other rare items including a first edition 'Lugia' card was sold on the eBay account for £1,000.

The court heard Christou's brother is a Pokemon YouTuber, who has his own business selling cards and that some of the cards recovered from their mother's house were his.

Mr Duke said that when police arrived the family home was "littered" with cards.

Just two days before his sentencing this week, Christou returned another £12,000 worth of Pokemon cards to Mr Duke, who said in a statement to the court that the theft has given him sleepless nights.

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In a victim impact statement, Mr Duke said: "I spoke to a therapist and suffered some psychological issues which caused me to also need to speak to my GP as they were affecting my day to day life.

"I was suffering anxiety due to this incident and the offence has caused me many sleepless nights due to trust issues and the fear it may be repeated from other employees.

"I'm cautious of everyone since the incident. I was a mess for two weeks after and was not able to focus at work.

Mr Cribb told the court the estimated value of the theft is £61,797, with around £9,519 of stock still unaccounted for.

During the sentencing, Christou agreed to pay Mr Duke £6,000 from his savings towards the shortfall.

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Judge Noel Lucas QC said he would spare Christou jail if the money was paid within 28 days.

He said: "As a result of your greed you have lost your good name which you will never again retrieve and in addition you brought shame on yourself and your family.

"Mr Duke has had to instruct specialist auditors and has paid the expense of installing CCTV cameras which now means all employees are constantly under surveillance.

"This is a direct consequence of your greed.

"Were it not for the fact you offered to pay compensation I would have sent you straight to prison, right now."

Christou, of New Park Avenue, Edmonton, north London, was given a 16 month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay Mr Duke £6,000 in compensation.

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