In 1978 Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca And R2-D2 came out as toys, the first ever Star Wars toys. It went on to sell 26 million dollars worth of franchise, one of the biggest sales in history.
Now many people are collecting the Star Wars toys.
In February 2017, Zach Tann, 39 year old collector unknowingly helped set motion to one of the biggest Star Wars scandals in history. On February 3rd of 2017 Tann received a text for his collecting comrade, Carl Cunningham. The text read: “I have a biggie. Are you sitting down?” Tann sat down trying to believe what he was reading. Cunningham had a purchase that could help Tann cement his membership in an Star Wars exclusive club. It was one of the rarest Star Wars collectibles. A failed prototype action figure from 1979, which would fetch at least
20,000 dollars on the open market. Rocket Fett, he was going to receive a Rocket Fett.
Tann paid Cunningham the price he asked. However, Cunningham promised he’d give him his collectible once he returned from California.
Just a little over a week later, Tann got another message, this time it was a Facebook message from a friend.
The message was a link to a post made by Phillip Wise. Wise is a collector who had his Rocket Fett stolen. It also contained his plea: “If anybody should hear anything about a Fett like this floating around, please contact me.” The words hit Tann and he began to think. Could Cunningham have been the thief, right? Your reputation will get destroyed if you scam somebody within the groups…it’s just not worth it,” Tann said to himself. Tann reached out to Wise and they were on the phone within the hour. Wise, on the advice of his local police department, he made a list of suspects. Tann decided that he would confirm one if on the list, but he would give the name away otherwise. Tann did say that his seller was from Georgia. Wise’s lists contained one name from Georgia, Carl Cunningham. Admitting that Cunningham was selling to him devastated Tann.
As Tann talked to Wise, his suspicions ran far beyond just a Rocket Fett, what about all the other merchandise he had bought from him? Tann gave Wise the list of i team he’d bought from Cunningham. And sure enough! Wise noticed quite a few were his. He also noticed that the large amount of teams he sold meant he had probably stolen from someone else.
Cunningham was a reliable among collectors, cosplayers and droid builders. That is, before he was caught stealing and selling rare Star Wars collectibles.