ROSEVILLE -- On Saturday, comic book store employees in Roseville thwarted two individuals attempting to sell a stolen collection of "Magic: The Gathering" cards.
John Bartuska was enjoying his Wednesday night playing the popular trading card game “Magic: The Gathering” at Room 2 Game in Cameron Park.
Bartuska has quite a collection of cards. He estimates they are worth around $1,200 and on a recent Saturday, they all vanished.
"When I came out of work and got to my car, my backpack was gone," he told FOX40.
The backpack carrying Bartuska's “Magic” cards had been stolen out of his car in Cameron Park.
"My whole collection just gone, just like that,” he said. "I was kind of freaked out.”
He called police -- but did not stop there.
“This victim did a great extra step by reporting to his local comic store that his collection had been stolen," said Rob Baquera, a spokesman for the Roseville Police Department.
Bartuska's call to A-1 Comics turned out to be a great move.
"They have three stores and they all communicated really well with each other,” Bartuska told FOX40.
“And that was the piece that really connected the dots," Baquera said.
Employees at A-1 Comics in Roseville were suspicious about a man and a woman who had come in trying to sell “Magic” cards without knowing much about the cards or their value.
“Identifying these people isn't too hard to spot," said A-1 manager Nick Barber. "We were reviewing the collection and we thought that the collection might be stolen."
After the couple left the cards at the shop for an appraisal, Barber contacted Bartuska.
"Determined that, in fact, they were his cards. Had some very some specific details about the cards," Baquera said.
“Fine details that you won't necessarily know unless they were your cards," Bartuska explained.
So, Roseville police and A-1 Comics set up a sting operation.
"While the police were here, we contacted the customers who had brought the cards in and told them that, 'Hey, we've got some money for you if you want to come pick that up,’” Barber said.
"They showed up to get the cash and our officers met them there to take them into custody," Baquera said.
Jesse Lee Casey and Sarah Marie Huber were arrested for possession of stolen property, attempting to sell stolen property and several drug-related charges.
"I was high on life. It felt really, really good to get my cards back," Bartuska said.
Bartuska admits he was running late the day the cards were stolen and forgot to lock his car. He said it was a lesson learned the hard way.
Roseville police said it's a good reminder to all of us about not leaving any belongings visible in your car.