Last night, the man who owns, displays and offers tours of the world's largest privately-owned Star Wars collection announced that he's been systematically robbed over the past several months.
An image from Rancho Obi-Wan, which was recently robbed. Image: Rancho Obi-Wan
Steve Sansweet -- a prolific Star Wars author and collector, and the proprietor of Rancho Obi-Wan in Northern California -- posted that over 100 items from his collection have been stolen, "the majority of them vintage US and foreign carded action figures, many of them rare and important pieces". Reportedly, several of those pieces have already been "resold or professionally appraised for a total of more than $200,000 [$AU267,175]."
According to Sansweet, the thefts were discovered when the sale of an ultra-rare Boba Fett action figure was tracked from its buyer to a man named Carl Edward Cunningham. Cunningham, whom Sansweet refers to as "a good and trusted friend", surrendered to police at the end of March but is currently out on bail pending additional hearings.
The Rancho Obi-Wan site is urging any fans who have found themselves in possession of any too-good-to-be-true vintage Star Wars collectables that may have been stolen by Cunningham to contact them to figure out if it's one of the pieces in question.
"This has been a devastating betrayal from someone I considered a friend for 20 years," Sansweet told us. "But already the Star Wars community has offered its support and two of the purchasers have said they are returning the stolen items that they bought."
All of the pilfered items were on display as part of Sansweet's collection at Rancho Obi-Wan, which is run as a non-profit organisation; proceeds from tours are donated to various charities. For more on this story, and information on how to contact the organisation, visit the below link.