In the early morning of Jan. 14, two thieves hit four separate retail outlets in Kent, Wash., by backing a stolen Audi SUV through its front doors. This included GameBound, a locally owned and independently operated store specializing in “all things geek and nerdy”.
A week later, GameBound was back in business, using the disruption to reorganize and come back “even better.”
It was the first robbery at the Seattle-area store since owner Kiet Pham opened it in 2017.
“I thought I had everything down, the security, the cameras, the sensor, the bars,” Pham told GeekWire. “My store was heavily secured and gated. The one thing I couldn’t plan for was the car.”
The thieves stole numerous games and consoles from GameBound, as well as causing Pham an estimated $22,000 in damage.
The thieves also hit a GameStop, an Xfinity outlet, and an eyeglass store during the night, using the same SUV.
Pham said he is working with his landlord to install a bollard. If they are unable to do so, he said he may have to relocate to a safer area.
According to Pham, every other store in the same retail complex as GameBound has been broken into once or twice in the past few years, with a few stolen every month.
Commercial burglaries in Kent increased by 45% in 2022, according to data from Kent Police.
Last year, Seattle video game store Pink Gorilla dealt with a break-in, but has bounced back and even opened a new location in December.
Pham is not expected to need financial help to fix the store, as he also happens to own an insurance agency, and he made sure GameBound was well covered.
“It’s a good thing I wrote a really good policy for myself first,” Pham said. “I’m lucky. However, as an insurance professional for 13 years, the labor costs and the time costs to clean up, and the deductible cost.”
Merchandise taken from GameBound on January 14 includes complete-in-a-box PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, GameCube, Wii, Xbox, and Xbox 360 video game consoles; Game Boy; Game Boy Color; a Texas Instruments graphing calculator in its original packaging; and multiple Sega CD and Sega Saturn games. All items were labeled with GameBound stickers.
In addition, the break-in destroyed four glass cabinets and display cases, the store’s folding security gate, and two items from Pham’s personal collection: original Xbox and PlayStation display booths, the kind you might have seen in the video game . stores when the systems were new. The booths, which will be difficult at best to repair or replace, are the only damage from the break-in that bothers Pham.
GameBound’s “bread and butter,” according to Pham, is selling used video games, from current releases to old “retro” titles like the Atari. In addition, GameBound offers toys, trading cards, and comics.
Pham took to social media last week to spread the word about the break-in, as well as posting photos of the two thieves caught on her store’s security cameras.