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Rare Boba Fett figure snares alleged ‘Star Wars’ thief; other items missing

By dailymail / Published on Saturday, 10 Jun 2017 20:00 PM / No Comments

It all comes back to Boba Fett.

A collector in Georgia is facing charges in two states after his admission to stealing a rare “Star Wars” figurine led to the discovery that he may have swiped more than $200,000 worth of memorabilia from the world’s biggest collector of “Star Wars” merchandise.

Carl Cunningham was indicted by a grand jury in Denton County, Texas, in February after admitting to taking a prototype rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure from a fellow collector and friend, the Roanoke Police Department in Texas confirmed.

The prototype, created in the likeness of Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett, is one of only a few that were created and is estimated to be worth about $40,000.

Philip Wise, a prolific collector from Texas, told CNBC that he discovered in early February that the figure had disappeared from its case in his personal museum.

After reporting the theft to police, Wise posted about the missing Fett toy on his website, a well-known Star Wars collectors news site. The post quickly caught the attention of Zach Tann, a collector and dealer based in California, who had recently purchased a rare Boba Fett prototype.

Because there were only a small number of these prototypes created, Tann reached out to Wise to verify if the figure he had purchased had been the one that was taken.

“My stomach dropped,” Tann told CNBC about the moment he realized that the figure he bought had been stolen.

Tann said the action figure was one of many items he had bought from Cunningham since May 2016. He also said that at first he was hesitant to tell Wise who had sold him the item in case Cunningham had purchased it from another dealer before reselling it.

However, when Wise named Cunningham as a possible suspect, Tann confirmed he was the seller and shared the list of other items he had purchased. Wise recognized many of the items and determined that there was only one place that they could have come from: his friend Steve Sansweet’s museum in California.

Sansweet is well-known in the collecting world. He owns an estimated 500,000 pieces of “Star Wars” merchandise, although only 93,260 were cataloged in 2015 to earn him the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of “Star Wars” memorabilia. He is also the owner of Rancho Obi-Wan, a public museum and nonprofit organization.