Crestwood Police track down ‘Pokémon Prowler’ accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trading cards

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) -- A suspect is now charged after police allege he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trading cards in the bi-state. News 4 first told you about this story last October.

Pokemon cards, Magic The Gathering, and more were found in the back seat of a 24-year-old Oklahoma man’s car in an effort to “catch ‘em all.”

Business is booming at Yeti Gaming, a collectible trading card shop off Watson Road in Crestwood.

“We’re here every Wednesday,” Customer Matt Jaimes said as he opened a pack of Pokémon cards with his daughter.

“I’m bad at making friends so it’s a lot of fun coming here to find friendly people,” Teresa Rivera added.

Yeti Gaming was one of three stores burglarized for trading cards on Oct. 11, 2021.

Surveillance video obtained by News 4 shows who police believe was Nicholas Garrison shattering the front door with a hammer. From another camera angle, the hooded man is seen breaking into the front counter. More than $12,000 worth of Pokémon cards were gone in minutes.

Pokémon’s popularity continues to surge out of the pandemic. There is big money to be made. A look inside the store’s front counter reveals cards valued at $800 or more.

“Coming in the next day, seeing the door busted out with a giant piece of wood covering it up, and then going to the cases,” store manager Carl Nicklin said shaking his head.

Realms of Gaming in Troy, Illinois was in a similar situation– one of the other targets of card theft.

“All of it put together, we estimate the ballpark of over $100,000 [worth of cards stolen],” Co-Owner of Realms of Gaming Sam Bozarth told News 4 last October.

Crestwood Police call 24-year-old Garrison the, “Pokémon Prowler.” Police connected Garrison to the crimes thanks to blood samples and fingerprints left on cases.

Lt. Kent Meier, a detective at the time of the crime, led the investigation with St. Louis Crime Labs and the FBI.

“He didn’t know where he was going,” Meier explained. “Didn’t have anything else to do. Living out of his car. Just pulled out of his phone and Google.”

Police said that a Google search turned into a cross-country crime spree.

Officers arrested Garrison in Bedford, Texas last October for attempting to sell stolen gaming cards. Before that, he was stopped in Oklahoma and Dallas. Garrison eventually landed in the McPherson, Kansas jail, accused of burglary. That’s where Lt. Meier tracked him down after getting the needed blood sample.

“I asked him why gaming cards,” Meier said. “He said it’s easier than going into Home Depot and taking tools.

People at Yeti Gaming tell News 4 that the officer’s quest to find the thief brought a sense of safety back to this story.

It means we have someone to rely on,” Nicklin explained. “We actually had a stuffed animal fall in front of our sensors and the police came immediately. We had no idea what was going on. Just a few weeks back. So, knowing we have someone looking out for us in our neck of the woods is awesome.”

“All of us who come here are just having fun,” Rivera shared. “It’s sad someone goes to that length to steal cardboard, when it’s not something that’s really a big deal.”

Lt. Meier said this case was revisited by the Crestwood Police Detective Bureau and closed thanks to many agencies collaborating across the state.

Garrison now faces charges for second-degree burglary, felony stealing, and first-degree property damage.

A court appearance has not been scheduled.