Thief targets rare comic books at Avon Park store

- A Highlands County comic store was hit by a thief with expensive taste, who made off with some of their rarest, most valuable comics.

Even worse, the crime was discovered on Christmas morning.

Whoever broke into IDC Comics Toys & Collectibles didn't take much. But what they did take set the store back thousands of dollars.

However, the owners are hopeful the comics won't go far. Co-owner Brian Shelton got a call Christmas morning that the glass door of IDC Comics Toys & Collectibles was smashed in.

"First thing we did is look around," said Shelton. "As soon as we turned the corner, we could tell that several of our graded issues were taken."

21 of the store's highest-valued comics had been stolen, worth more than $5,000.

"Fantastic Four #52. I had two copies of that, that were graded," Shelton said. "Amazing Spiderman #300, which is really highly sought after right now."

Since Hurricane Irma knocked out their surveillance cameras, there's no video. But a Highlands County Sheriff's Office K-9 was unable to track a suspect.

"Nothing else was touched. They knew what they were coming for," Shelton said.

It's not just about the money. For Shelton, there's sentimental value.

"The majority of them were my personal and it took me a long time to get them," Shelton said.

Though there are many villains in the world of comics, there are also heroes.

"I'm not the first comic store to get broken into," Shelton said. "Sometimes, you get the good stories about them getting their product back."

He's hoping that, in this issue, a hero will save the day. Word of the crime has already spread to comic books stores throughout Florida and as far away as Canada.

"All the comics have serial numbers. I have all the serial numbers to them. So, if they are sold anywhere, somebody will find them," Shelton said.

The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information on the burglary to call them at 863-402-7200 or Heartland Crimestoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.

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