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Comics A.M. | Gallery’s Denver Comic Con proceeds stolen

The Hall of Justice art gallery

The Hall of Justice art gallery

Crime | A successful weekend at Denver Comic Con turned sour for Zac and Mindy Conley, the owners of The Hall of Justice art gallery, after a thief stole a cash box containing their proceeds from the show, about $1,000, and some special orders for Mindy Conley’s artwork, which would have earned the couple another $1,500. The Conleys say they were planning to use the money for rent for their home and studio and the payment for their booth at next year’s Denver Comic Con. “We’ve been fighting to turn this place into some really cool. And every month we’re wondering if we’re going to survive,” Zac said. However, friends are rallying around: Illustrator Drew Litton, who will be showing his work at the gallery next month, will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Conleys, and gifts are also coming in through their Facebook page. [The Denver Post]

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Two men arrested for stealing teen’s ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ card collection

yu-gi-oh

Two 20-year-old men were arrested this week in Kōbe, Japan, on charges that they stole their teenage friend’s Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

Kōbe Shinbun NEXT reports, via Anime News Network, that the men showed up at the home of their 15-year-old pal on Feb. 18, only to discover he wasn’t there. So, naturally, being friends and all, they did what you would expect: They allegedly made off with his 320-card Yu-Gi-Oh! collection, valued at about $685.

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Comics A.M. | Tunisian court denies cartoonist’s appeal

Jabeur Mejri

Jabeur Mejri

Legal | A Tunisian court denied cartoonist Jabeur Mejri’s appeal of an eight-month sentence on charges of insulting a public official. Mejri was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2012 for drawing cartoons that insulted the Prophet Mohammed, but was pardoned by President Moncef Marzouki earlier this year. Before he was released, however, news leaked that he had also been charged with embezzlement stemming from his time working for the Tunisian railway. Mejri was released from prison in March, but six weeks later he was arrested again, this time on charges of insulting a court official. His support committee said Mejri is being subjected to “judicial harassment” and released a statement saying “It’s clear … that there is a desire not to accept the presidential pardon and to keep Jabeur in prison at all costs, to make him pay dearly for his freedom of expression and deter him from any further attempts.” [Naharnet]

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Former DA investigator pleads guilty to stealing seized comics

A copy of "All Winners Comics" #1 was among the stolen comics

A copy of “All Winners Comics” #1 was among the stolen comics

A former investigator for the Harris County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office pleaded guilty today in federal court to stealing thousands of dollars worth of comic books seized as evidence in a criminal case.

According to the Beaumont Enterprise, 39-year-old Lonnie Blevins admitted he took more than $5,000 worth of vintage comics and sold them at a convention in Chicago. He could face a maximum of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 1, but his attorney is hopeful he’ll instead receive probation for his cooperation.

The case stems from the January 2013 arrest of Anthony Chiofalo, a disbarred New York attorney who somehow landed a job as head of legal affairs at Texas-based Tadano America, where he’s said to have embezzled more than $9 million. He spent a sizable portion of that money on sports memorabilia and vintage comics, including a copy of Detective Comics #27 worth about $900,000.

Blevins was charged in February 2013, about two months after he left the D.A.’s office, following a federal investigation into the disappearance of items, including dozens of comics, seized from Chiofalo’s home and storage units. Blevins’ partner at the office was suspended, and later resigned; however, he hasn’t been charged with any crimes.

Chiofalo was sentenced last week to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to the theft of more than $200,000.

Comics A.M. | Restricted erotic manga removed from Kindle store

Younger Sister Paradise 2

Younger Sister Paradise 2

Digital comics | Amazon has removed the manga Younger Sister Paradise 2 (Imōto Paradise! 2) from the Japanese Kindle store, two days after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government declared the manga a “harmful publication to minors” because of its “glorification of incestuous acts” and restricted its sale to customers over 18. As a result, beginning Friday, brick-and-mortar bookstores in Tokyo must keep the manga in a separate area for adults only. Whether because of all the attention or because it was unavailable elsewhere, the manga was the top-selling comic in the Japanese Kindle store before Amazon removed it. [Anime News Network]

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Spider-Woman strikes store, makes off with cash and cigarettes

spider-crime

From store surveillance video

Proving J. Jonah Jameson right time and again, Spider-Man in the past year alone has stolen $6,000 in cash, fought two Captain Americas, been arrested following a robbery and held up a convenience store. Now it appears the wall-crawler has found an ally: Spider-Woman.

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Captain America charged with texting nude pics to teen

James Weldon Alton (via the Orange County Jail)

James Weldon Alton (via the Orange County Jail)

A 29-year-old who worked as Captain America at Universal Studios Orlando faces a felony charge after police say he sent sexually explicit text messages and photos to a 16-year-old girl he met at the theme park.

James Weldon Alton allegedly began a friendship with the girl after he commented about a photo she posted online of the two of them taken at Universal Orlando. According to the arrest affidavit (via The Smoking Gun), Alton said he exchanged phone numbers with the teen, and the two began texting. During the next two weeks, those conversations “turned explicit,” with Alton allegedly sending photos of his penis.

According to police, the girl’s father called authorities after learning about the texts and photos, and discovering that Alton had set up a “possible date” with her at the mall. Alton was charged with transmitting harmful material to a minor with an electronic device and booked Thursday at the Orange County Jail. He was subsequently released on bail.

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Lawyer who bought comics with embezzled loot sentenced to 40 years

detective comics27An attorney charged with embezzling more than $9 million from his former employer, only to spend much of it on high-priced collectibles like a copy of Detective Comics #27, was sentenced today in Houston to more than 40 years in prison.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Anthony Chiofalo, who landed a job in 2009 as head of legal affairs for Tadano America despite being disbarred in New York, pleaded guilty to the theft of more than $200,000, a first-degree felony. Prosecutors say within a year of being hired, Chiofalo began setting up dummy law firms that charged his employer for litigation work — to the tune of $9.3 million.

They say he used a sizable chunk of the money to purchase sports memorabilia and vintage comic books: When his home and storage units were raided, authorities found a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, a first-edition Playboy, and a copy of Detective Comics #27 worth about $900,000.

The case didn’t stop with Chiofalo, however, as Lonnie Blevins, an investigator with the Harris County’s District Attorney’s office, was later arrested and charged with taking some of those comic books following the raid and selling them to collectors. His case is pending in federal court. According to the newspaper, Blevins’ partner was suspended from the D.A.’s office, and then resigned; he hasn’t been charged.

Flintmobile thieves yabba dabba doo their time on FCBD

flintstones-teens

What store owner Dave Downey called “the final chapter in the great Flintmobile Heist” came to a close Saturday as the three teens the replica appeared at World’s Best Comics and Toys in Sacramento, California, dressed as the Flintstones for Free Comic Book Day. And, of course, there’s video and photographic proof.

As we previously reported, the teenagers stole the 200-pound Flintmobile from in front of the store in mid-December, only to be apprehended about a month later. Instead of pursuing criminal charges against the apologetic culprits, Downey had a better idea: They could do some work around the store. However, this wasn’t just any work. As the retailer revealed last week, it would involve the trio dressing up as Fred, Wilma and Barney to help promote the store’s FCBD activities.

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Teens who stole Flintmobile will dress as Flintstones for FCBD

flintstones mobile

Luckily for the three teenagers who in December stole a replica of the Flintstones’ car from outside World’s Best Comics and Toys, owner Dave Downey doesn’t have a heart of bedrock.

So when the apologetic thieves were caught just weeks later, and the 200-pound Flintmobile returned to the Sacramento, California, store, Downey declined to press charges, sparing them time in court and possibly even a criminal record. Instead, agreed to do some work at the store.

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Thieves steal $7,000 in Silver Age comics from California store

comic bugThieves smashed the door of The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, California, this week and made off with about $7,000 in Silver Age comic books, including The X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man. However, owners Jun Goeku and Mike Wellman seem to have retained their sense of humor.

“I guess they couldn’t wait, and they started Free Comic Day early,” Goeku told Easy Reader of the theft, which occurred sometime between 10:30 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

The retailers also posted a photo of the burglary’s aftermath (at right) on the store’s Facebook page, “We never let a little thing like a store burglary get in the way of a GOOD TIME! Spread the word far and wide that FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is STILL ON at The Comic Bug this Saturday! We have an unprecedented amount of awesome cosplayers and comic creators.”

Indeed, The Comic Bug’s FCBD lineup includes appearances by the likes of Richard Starkings, Barbara Kesel, Richard Isanove, Jeff Stokely and D.J. Kirkbride. The store also plans on Tuesday to take FCBD to the to the pediatric ward at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

Comics A.M. | Con’s response to cosplayer sparks backlash

Cherry City Comic Con

Cherry City Comic Con

Conventions | Ross Lincoln gathers up the threads of a story that’s been unfolding over social media for the past few days: A cosplayer expressed concern that the Facebook cosplay gallery for the inaugural Cherry City Comic Con in Salem, Oregon, featured significantly more women in costume than men. Displeased by the dismissive reply from the administrator of the Facebook page, she sent a private message asking for a refund of her convention registration fee, explaining, “I don’t think this will be a safe place for female cosplayers.” Organizer Mark Martin posted that request on his personal Facebook page with the response, “despite the no touch policy, the family friendly policy, the 3 security guards at all times, and the fact that you’re bat-shit crazy? Refunded!”

Several prominent cosplayers picked up on that, and it became a cause celebre on Twitter and Facebook for a couple of days; meanwhile, things got more complicated with sock puppets and a possibly fictitious con representative getting involved. In the end, Martin apologized; to give organizers their due, the convention includes a harassment policy in its official rules and policies. The con will take place on May 10-11. The Daily Dot has more. [The Escapist]

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7,000 comic books stolen from California collector’s garage

stolen-comics

Comic stores from Los Angeles to San Diego have been notified following the reported theft of 14 longboxes from a home in Eagle Rock, California.

Collector Adam Rose tells CBS Los Angeles that someone removed the garage-door opener from his unlocked car and entered his garage, making off with about 7,000 comic books he stored there. They represent three decades’ worth of purchases.

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Comics A.M. | Man charged in robbery of comic store employee

Adam Radigan

Adam Radigan

Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, have arrested 24-year-old Adam Radigan and charged him in the Monday-morning robbery of a comic store employee. The robbery occurred in the parking lot as the employee walked out of the Fantasy Shop with a bank bag that contained $26 in coins. The suspect allegedly indicated he had a gun and demanded the bag; after the employee handed it over, fled on foot. Nearby schools were briefly locked down after the incident. [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KDSK]

Comics | “Seattle and the Northwest have carved a lasting niche in the comics world by applying the same traits to cartoons that we apply to music — lo-fi, provocative and introspective. Our comics are often funny as in peculiar, not necessarily funny as in laugh-out-loud, our heroes bumbling rather than swashbuckling”: Tyrone Beason looks at Seattle’s thriving alt-comics scene, and talks with Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney, Tom Van Deusen and the organizers of the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival. [The Seattle Times]

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Comics A.M. | Police search for man who robbed store employee

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, are looking for a man who accosted an employee of the Fantasy Shop outside the comic store Monday morning and demanded she hand over a bank bag. The suspect, who indicated he had a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leading to five local schools being put on lockdown for about 90 minutes. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Creators | Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato discuss taking over as the creative team of Detective Comics with Issue 30. “We just want to carve out a small space in the Bat-world and craft stories that resonate with the legions of fans out there,” Buccalleto says. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this legacy.” [USA Today]

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