Damn, dirty thieves!
February 23, 2009

I’ve been lucky so far.   I’ve keep toys at my workplace for the past 13+ years, and not just a few here and there.  A LOT!  I’ve been fortunate to work at places where a toy collection fits into the culture so it’s really become and extension of my displaying area.   Here is a picture of me in my office from last year.   As you can see I have quite a bit of stuff on display.

Me in my office at work 

I’ve worked in bull pen areas, I’ve shared work space with a coworker and, for the past 7 years, I’ve had my own office. Currently I have my own office, with a door, that locks, in an out of the way area that you need a key card to get into.  It’s not a commonly traveled common area, you have to want to go to where my team sits.  When I go home at night I lock my door.  I’m also the guy that controls who get what keys on this campus, and security reports into one of my team.  I should be the most secure guy at work. At least that’s what I thought….

I have all of my Mattel JLU figures at work on a shelf..or 2 as the line has expanded.  Here was my JLU shelf back in 2007

Display circa 2007 


Some time in November 08 a few of my JLU figures went missing.  Even though I have a lot of stuff in my office I notice that sort of thing right away.   It was weird because the first batch that went missing was all from the villains shelf:  Joker, Red Hood (original black version), Bizaro and Lex Luthor… but the FIRST one, the one in the suit.  Yeah, the rare one that Mattel will never re-release. 

That was frustrating to say the least.  But, I thought maybe it was just a coworker having some fun and they would be returned to me.  It wasn’t and they weren’t.  Then I thought maybe it was a desperate janitor that needed Christmas presents for their kids, but it was such a weird selection.  Why not take Superman and Batman?  They are so iconic, and right in the front.   I noticed a little later that Waverider had also gone "missing."

With the help of Jim Able, my girlfriend and Ebay I was able to replace those over the holidays and all was well.

As time went on the JLU line expanded and so did my shelves.  Here’s what they look line now (YES there are some customs in there)

Heroes Shelf Villians shelf

 When I got back this week from Toy Fair I noticed the thief had struck again while I was gone, and this time he/she hit me even harder.

 This time the list was:  Superman, Blue & gray Batman, Green Lantern (bald with goatee), Steel,  Robin (Teen Titans), Batgirl and Nightwing for the heroes and Star Sapphire, Reverse Flash, Penguin, Catwoman for the villains.  Now clearly whoever is doing this doesn’t know what they are grabbing.  By that I mean they don’t know who is valuable in the line.  They seem to be just grabbing characters they recognize.

It’s disappointing and it’s maddening.  Some of these figures I might have replacements for somewhere in storage, some I won’t.   Some I’ll have to rebuy on the secondary market.  I just feel violated.  I always hoped I’d never find myself here.  I’ve changed security procedures for my office.  No one gets in while I’m not there.  I’ve set up a web cam for after hours.  

But if it happens again, I’ll have to pack it all up any bring it all home.  In this day and I can can’t afford to keep rebuying my collection.

Has that ever happened to you guys?   What have you done to prevent it from happening?   Ever catch who was doing it?

The bodycount so far  

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.





  • TRDouble says:

    That’s terrible! I would be fuming!!! I have toys in my office and used to have displays in both of my offices (when I had two), but none ever walked away. But, despite offers, this is why I do not set up my Christmas toys in any open office space — I am more afraid someone would play with them & break them, but they could disappear due to non-office people in the office.

    I wish you would have kept the status quo and just setup a webcam; I would love for you to catch the thief. It’s probably someone who’s mentality is that you have so many, that’s it’s not a big deal. They are, after all, just toys.

  • Daniel Pickett Julius Marx says:

    Thanks to everyone for your repsonses. I was really mad and wanted to get it off my chest with people I knew would know what it felt like. And a HUGE thank you to everyone that wrote to me about have spares of certain figures to help me replace the stolen ones. That wasn’t why I wrote the blog, I really wanted to see if it had happened to anyone else and what they did about it.
    But THANK YOU! I’m gonna take you guys up on the offers (I think I’ve written back to everyone that PM’ed me now).
    I think I will take my JLU home. I just need to remove the temptation from whoever it is. Or… I do know of a lockable display we have in storage… hmmmm….

  • Mike Fichera says:

    In grad school, I kept a few figures on my desk, and my ToyBiz Iron Man (circa 1991) vanished one evening. Really, the only ones with access to my lab were the janitors after hours, and I know this one guy would sit at my desk and use my phone. So, I asked him if he had seen it around, and he said he’d “look.” It magically reappeared the next day!

    Sorry your thief has no such conscience, Daniel.

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