It was a nightmarish evening in the “Cove.” And not the way to celebrate veterans on Veterans Day.
The owners of a central Texas sports card shop lost more than $50,000 in sports cards and collectibles early Friday when four thieves hurled a boulder through a window and helped themselves to autographed cards, jerseys and helmets.
And they did it in approximately three minutes, according to surveillance video.
The thieves took the items from Apollo’s Sports & Collectibles in Copperas Cove, using the boulder and a hammer to shatter glass and turn the shop into a mess.
“It was like you were watching a movie, like where they are doing a bank robbery, where they’re on a timer, they know how long they got,” shop co-owner John Bostic told KCEN-TV.
Bostic, along with business partner George Apollo, are veterans who opened the shop in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center in Copperas Cove, located north of Austin and southwest of Waco. The city is home to approximately 32,000 residents.
Police said four men broke into the shop around 2:30 a.m. CST. Some of Apollo’s personal collection was also stolen.
“That hurts the most. That is stuff that I invested money in, that I invested for my kids. Apollo told KWTX-TV. “It’s not for me, it’s for my kids when they grow up if they want to sell.”
The thieves also took an Emmitt Smith jersey and signed footballs, KCEN reported. Other items included a 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady rookie card graded BGS 9.5, a 2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Competitor Autograph card of the late Kobe Bryant. Two more Bryant cards, from the Victory Collection insert set in the 2000-01 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory set, were also swiped.
High grade Fleer and Donruss 1996-97 Bryant rookie cards were stolen, along with a 2020 Panini Origins graded card of Tom Brady numbered to 10.
The thieves did not touch any baseball items, concentrating instead on football and basketball cards and memorabilia. A partial list of the stolen items, provided by the shop, including the certification numbers of stolen cards, is at the bottom of this story.
Bostic compiled the list of missing cards and serial numbers and began circulating them to other store owners. He learned that Lucky 7 Cards and Collectables in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park was hit the same day, according to KCEN.
Owner Thomas Kurowski told the television station that he lost approximately $47,000, with the thieves using similar tactics to those employed at the Copperas Cove business.
“I’m in total disbelief,” Bostic told KWTX. “Disbelief that people would do that to small businesses. That’s crippling to a small business like us.”
“There’s little kids out there who love to collect sports cards, who love to collect,” Apollo told the television station. “We just do it for them and the community.”
Bostic and Apollo said they will be using tighter security measures to prevent future thefts. The police department is approximately four blocks from the shop. An investigation is ongoing, with officials from the Cedar Park Police Department telling KCEN that they were working with Copperas Cove police. So far, neither law enforcement agency has connected the two break-ins.
Partial list of items reported stolen: