Rare anime figures worth thousands stolen from local hobby shop

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published August 9, 2021

 A rare figure of Catwoman from “Batman,” standing about 3 feet tall, was among  the items stolen recently from  Otaku Detroit in Madison Heights.

A rare figure of Catwoman from “Batman,” standing about 3 feet tall, was among the items stolen recently from Otaku Detroit in Madison Heights.

Photo provided by Terry Alexander

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Rare collectible figures worth thousands of dollars were recently stolen from a niche hobby shop in Madison Heights after someone broke the front door to gain entry.

Otaku Detroit, located at 513 W. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights, opened last year amid the pandemic and recently marked its one-year anniversary. The store specializes in rare merchandise based on video games and Japanese animation, also known as anime. Many of the figures stolen were limited-run items that cannot be easily replaced by a distributor.  

Among the figures taken were a 3-foot-tall statue of Catwoman, from the “Batman” series, as well as rare models in the “Funko Pop” line of figures. Several figures are only obtainable in Japan or are now out of production, such as a figure of the character Ken Kaneki from “Tokyo Ghoul.”

The cash register was also stolen, reportedly with $1,000 still inside.

“Why would someone do this,” asked Terry Alexander, co-owner of Otaku Detroit, via email. “We make it very easy to get any kind of figure you like. Why us, why now?”

The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. July 29, when the glass front door was broken. According to Alexander, Otaku Detroit did not have security cameras installed at the time. However, he said cameras at a video game store next door and a car lot across the street captured footage of a suspect dressed in black, breaking into the store with what appeared to be a crowbar.

The owners of Otaku Detroit have already contacted local pawn shops, asking them to be on the lookout for unusual items from the video game and anime fandoms.

Madison Heights Police Lt. Michael Siladke said in an email that his department is pursuing all investigative leads. Individual buyers are advised to be wary of any rare figures being sold for cheap, as they may be stolen goods.

“A rare or normally higher-end item being sold cheaper than usual, or in bulk with other items, should be a red flag to a potential buyer. People should not be afraid to question a seller about an item’s history and how they came into possession of it,” he said. “If something doesn’t seem right, walk away from the purchase.”

Siladke also advises businesses to have proper security systems in place.

“Any business should maintain a security system, including CCTV, and advertise that they have security with a decal on the window,” Siladke said. “No cash should be left in the register, and any high-end items should be stored out of view or locked up to discourage theft.”

Alexander said Otaku Detroit is already in the process of making the necessary changes.

“Going forward, we are going to implement a bit more safety measures for our store and our customers,” Alexander said. “We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop. Even though we may carry popular things in the store, we will go out of our way to order anything from any genre that anyone wants, so nothing is off limits for us.”  

He said opening during the pandemic last year “was scary, and a bit of a challenge,” but that “with the help of the community and our customers, we made it through one year, and I have no doubt we’ll make it through this and more with the support of everyone.”

Otaku Detroit can be reached by calling (248) 629-6990.

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