Early in the morning in January. On Sept. 14, two thieves raided four independent retail stores in Kent, Washington, backing a stolen Audi SUV through the front doors. This includes GameBound, an independently run local store that specializes in “everything for geeks and nerds.”
A week later, GameBound was back in business, using the break-in to regroup and “get better.”
It was the first robbery at the Seattle-area store since owner Kiet Pham opened it in 2017.
“I thought I had everything under control, security, cameras, sensors and railings,” Pham told GeekWire. “My shop is heavily guarded and gated. The one thing I can’t plan for is the car.”
In addition to causing Pham an estimated $22,000 in damage, the thieves stole several games and consoles from GameBound.
Thieves also used the same SUV to raid GameStop, an Xfinity store and an optician at night.
Pham said he was working with his landlord to install the bollards. If they couldn’t, he said he might need to move to a safer location.
According to Pham, every other store in the same retail center as GameBound has been broken into once or twice over the past few years, and a couple are robbed every month.
Business theft in Kent will increase by 45% in 2022, according to Kent Police figures.
Seattle video game store Pink Gorilla also dealt with a burglary last year, but has bounced back and even opened a new store in December.
Pham doesn’t anticipate needing financial help for the store’s repairs, since he also happens to own an insurance company and make sure GameBound is well covered.
“It’s a good thing that I set a really good policy for myself in the first place,” Pham said. “I’ve been lucky. Still, as an insurance professional for 13 years, there’s the labor and time cost of cleanup, and deductibles.”
Items taken from GameBound in January. 14 Includes complete boxed PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, GameCube, Wii, Xbox, and Xbox 360 video game consoles; game consoles; Game Boy colors; Texas Instruments graphing calculator in original packaging; and multiple Sega CDs and Sega Saturn game. These items are affixed with GameBound stickers.
Additionally, the burglary destroyed four glass display cases and display cases, the store’s collapsible security doors, and two items from Pham’s personal collection: an original Xbox and PlayStation display booth, the kind you’ve probably seen in video games Store when the system is new. The kiosks were difficult to repair or replace at best and were the only damage caused by the burglary, much to Pham’s disquiet.
According to Pham, GameBound’s “subsistence” is selling used video games, from current releases to old “retro” titles like Atari. Additionally, GameBound offers toys, trading cards, and comics.
Pham spread news of the break-in on social media last week, posting a photo of the two thieves captured by his store’s security camera.