With no one to blame at first but some excommunicated Corellian smugglers, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the theft of several high-dollar collector pieces from the world's most valuable private collection of Star Wars memorabilia.
According to Rancho Obi-Wan owner and curator Steve Sansweet, a number of ultra-rare Star Wars items were pilfered from the well-known non-profit museum in Petaluma, California, over the course of many months between 2015 and 2016. The value of these original boxed and carded action figures (including the Grail-like rocket-firing Boba Fett) is estimated at over $200,000.
A culprit has been identified as one of Sansweet's "good and trusted friends," Carl Edward Cunningham of Georgia, a “well-known Star Wars collector and R2-D2 builder,” who had been systematically pocketing the action figures and reselling them on the secondary market.
Cunningham surrendered after being served an arrest warrant in March, and is currently out on bail, with further court hearings scheduled. He had snagged nearly 100 collectibles during three visits to the California museum. Several of the "unsuspecting" buyers have contacted Sansweet over the illegal transactions, and hopefully more will step forward and return their contraband Star Wars treasures.
Here's an excerpt from a letter that Sansweet posted on his official website, addressed to "fellow Star Wars fans and collectors":
"I, and the staff at Rancho Obi-Wan, are devastated that he is the alleged perpetrator of the thefts. Not only have important items been stolen from the collection, but also our time, energy and ability to trust unconditionally have taken a blow ... It is our goal to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and to continue to use the collection at Rancho Obi-Wan to 'Inspire through the Force' despite the destruction caused by one person."
Sansweet retired from Lucasfilm in 2011 and has been gathering rare and unusual Star Wars memorabilia for over 37 years. His amazing 93,000-piece showcase has been named by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Star Wars Memorabilia Collection.
Anyone with any info regarding the sale of any of these pieces from Cunningham is asked to contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think the punishment should be for Cunningham, if convicted? Is there a Sarlacc pit available for his sentence?
(Via Screen Crush)