My name is Justin Parnell. I don’t think we’ve met. Well, actually, we probably have. That’s too bad I didn’t know who you were at the time. If I did, I doubt I would be writing you this letter.
You took my blue and grey Vans backpack from me on Sunday, February 26th around 6:45 at Grand Prix Baltimore. You were able to grab it in the moments I had my eyes off of it, while I was just feet away around a group of people I know and trust. You must be good at what you do, because that was the only time it foolishly left my touch or sight all weekend. Just in case you’ve forgotten, let’s go over everything you’ve taken from me.
Well, you certainly got my bag, which I’ve loved for many years because it was secure and sturdy enough to hold my most prized possession. It has a tear in the right shoulder at the strap from lovingly caring me on my journeys around the country to play the game I love. You probably dumped my bag in a trashcan somewhere.
You got several of the notes from a project I was working on with my best friend, which we’ve put hundreds and hundreds of hours into. Those notes meant everything to me and my friend, and nothing to everyone else in the world. You probably scanned over them before realizing that and discarded them too.
You got my extra sleeves and favorite dice, including some of each that I was holding for a friend. The dice are an assorted variety, collected from trading with generous people to finally get all of the shapes and sizes I needed. There’s only about one of each kind, so those probably got tossed in the trash with my bag.
You got 95% of my Legacy and Modern staples. Those mean something to you for sure. Maybe you can sell them like I was going to. I was going to use the large portion of the money from those cards to put towards a new car for my girlfriend. We really can’t afford it, but we can afford even less for her current car to break down. I’m sure she’ll understand why we’ll have to wait several months longer and work a little bit harder at our average paying jobs. I guess we can just cross our fingers.
You’re probably licking your chops now, because you know what’s coming next. It’s likely why you grabbed my bag in the first place.
You took my cube from me. My entirely foiled cube, you know, aside from stuff like Mana Drain, Library of Alexandria, or dual lands. The single most valuable thing I own. It’s taken me over four years to get it completely foiled, but of course I couldn’t do it alone. I’ve had tons of people donate cards, as well as their time to locate hard to find items for me. Even dealers have gone out of their way to make sure I got the best deals possible, because they know how much this cube means to me and how much a player’s happiness in Magic means to them. This cube was more than a collection of cards. It was an extension of me, and representation of what I stand for in the Magic community. I had thousands of hours sharing that cube with hundreds of people. I’ve touched the community and helped countless others discover what they loved about the game. All the way from a kid who starting playing Magic because cubing looked so much fun o our current National Champion.
You most likely spent a few minutes figuring out how to sell it the quickest way.
Really, you’ve take this cube from the community. I can no longer share what I love most about this game with anyone. I’ll have to cancel my weekly cube event at my local store. A place where the love for cube drafting has become so strong I have had to tell people there isn’t enough room on multiple occasions. I won’t be able to share my joy on the Open Series or at any Grand Prixes, bringing people together to do what we all love. You’ve stolen a peg in both the cube and Magic community.
What’s taken me so long to craft and perfect through time, money, and dedication was destroyed in seconds. I’ve had an average job with average pay since I was sixteen, and Magic is where I’ve choose to put the little excess funds I’ve had.
You even have my favorite lands that are each worth no more than any foil basic lands. I’ve been collecting them since the release of Invasion.
My worst nightmare in the hobby that I deeply love has become a reality.
You won’t find anything else in that bag, but you’ve taken incredibly so much more that you can’t possibly see.
You stole a moment away from one of my best friends, who had just secured a Pro Tour invite by Top 4ing the Grand Prix. In what would have been the best moment in his career and an awesome celebration you managed to turn into hours of panic and despair for our close group of friends. We’ll just have to wait until he does it again to celebrate.
While my friends were helping me in my search, you broke into their car and stole their bags, containing a computer used to run a business and the portion of a collection, minus the cards that he was loaning me for use in my cube. You know, which you have as well.
You’ve taken the thing that allowed me to meet my best friends, travel to fantastic places, create amazing memories, and grow as a person.
You stole Magic from me. If fourteen years ago, when I first opened that pack of Urza’s Legacy, someone had told me that eventually everything that I held dear would be stripped away by some immoral slime who never made anything of himself, I would have never gone on this incredible journey.
I am not alone. At GP Baltimore more than 25 backpacks were taken by you. Some of you were caught, most of you were not. These people you stole from had, in large part, come to this Grand Prix to have a wonderful time with the people they enjoy and playing the game they love. How many people have you hurt? How many days, weeks, months, years have you ruined? Every night since has been sleepless for me, and I can only imagine what you’ve done to thousands of others. How many have quit this game, with tears, anger, and frustration, to fuel your greed?
This problem you cause has become absolutely ridiculous. I speak for the community when I say that this is the tipping point, where we say no more. We will watch out for each other’s bags, boxes and decks. Not just watch for you walking off with them, but taking the time to know what our friends are carrying. We will be sure to never let our bags leave our grasps, even for sixty seconds. That was all it took for you to take a huge part of my life.
We’ll know it is not enough to simply acknowledge that theft exists. We have to actively seek you out, and let everyone know who you are. You and I both know that the tournament organizers are not doing enough to curb your appetite for crime, and I hope that changes. We do not deserve to be fearful of our property vanishing.
Luckily, the community has been more amazing than you could ever imagine. We are coming together to stop this from happening to anyone else. This is the breaking point. We have had enough of you. There is no place for you in our community. Every player, vendor, tournament organizer, and Wizards employee will come together to stop you.
So what do I do now that you’ve taken everything from me? I can’t build decks, trade, sell my cards, or cube. It looks like I’ll have to use my time doing something else.
I will dedicate my new found time to finding you.
Once you are found, I am going to put every necessary resource into prosecuting you to the fullest extent of the law. I am going to take from you everything you have taken from me. As much as I can from all of you will all be given back to the community, to help them move forward as they have helped me to do.
I want justice, and I will not stop until I get it. I hope you understand exactly what you’re up against. You are a few fighting against thousands. You will not win. You will not deter us. This is only the beginning.
The Baltimore PD doesn’t take grand larceny lightly. Neither will any other city you are in.
The community is fighting back.
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Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook or Twitter (@JParnell1) directly with any information on my case, or any other case you would like me to share. Getting every bit of information shared with our amazing community, the city’s convention center staff and the local police for ANY case involving belongings stolen at events helps prevents future theft and will help lead to these criminals. Any piece of concrete evidence helps in these situations. Thanks for listening and sharing, you guys are all truly amazing.