Shoppers going about their business at a suburban Milwaukee Target store Friday morning found themselves in the middle of the sports card hobby’s latest ugly incident.
A dispute between five men over the weekly distribution of retail boxes, many of which are flipped for a profit, erupted into a fight outside the store. That’s when one man who was on the receiving end of the assault pulled a gun, according to reports by multiple Milwaukee media outlets.
Brookfield police were called to the Target on Bluemound Road where they learned a 35-year-old man was attacked by four men who ranged from 23-35 years old. During the assault, the victim, who held a concealed carry permit, took out his weapon and pointed it at the attackers who then left. They were arrested soon afterward.
Many Target stores have begun limiting sales of cards to one box per customer each Friday. Interested buyers have been known to line up hours ahead of time in hopes of securing a box.
Entire families have been known to come, with the knowledge they can readily flip the boxes (typically around $30) for a substantial profit on eBay or elsewhere. The frenzy sometimes resembles Black Friday.
Unconfirmed online reports from collectors indicated the men who are accused of the assault may have taken umbrage at the actions of the man during the hunt for cards at Milwaukee area stores that morning.
Shoppers interviewed say the Brookfield store was put on lockdown while police investigated, with confusion and uncertainty inside leading some to run out back of the store to safety. Fox 6 in Milwaukee talked to one of them:
WISN-TV checked in with a local hobby shop to see what all the fuss was about.
Police say battery, strangulation and disorderly conduct charges will be presented to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office against the four men who were arrested.
Some Walmart and Target stores have stopped offering trading card boxes in stores with management posting signs indicating it was to ensure the safety of employees and guests.