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The case of the missing $60,000 Pokemon card

A No. 3 Trainer card, one of the most valuable Pokemon cards ever released, has gone missing. Sold for $60,000 via an eBay auction in August 2018, the card vanished while in transit, never arriving at its destination. Faced with the missing treasure, the buyer is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the card's whereabouts.

Trading card and memorabilia consultant smpratte shared the details surrounding No. 3 Trainer's disappearance on his YouTube channel. The card displays a holographic image of the iconic antagonist turned ally Mewtwo, a Legendary Pokemon that debuted in Generation 1. Considered one of the strongest Pokemon, Mewtwo's psychic powers and troubled backstory propelled it to instant popularity.

The No. 3 Trainer card first debuted as a reward for placing third in Secret Super Battle tournament which took place in Japan in 1999. Joined by versions created for securing the first and second spots, Pokemon fan site PokeBeach estimates that only nine to 18 sets of the three cards were awarded in total. Due to the limited run, No. 3 Trainer and its first and second place counterparts are some of the rarest Pokemon cards ever printed.

smpratte claims to know both the buyer and seller involved in the transaction, who reportedly did "everything they could to make this as above board and legitimate as possible." The YouTuber instead laid the blame at the feet of either the United States Postal Service or New York Air Max Shop and Ship company. eBay's global shipping company (GSP) could also bear the blame. Following its initial shipment from the overseas seller, the No. 3 Trainer arrived at the New York Air Max Shop for repackaging before moving onto the final leg of its journey. Though the company signed for the card, noting its arrival, the collectors' item promptly vanished into thin air.

"So, it's stopped in New York, who knows what happened then. My guess is because of the immense declaration on the package, you had some scumbag XXX Roflmaster420 who saw that between their vape and they thought it was a good idea to steal it," said smpratte. "So either you have absolute negligence and incompetence of the packages lost or you have the other side: absolute lowlife scumbag who decided to steal this package."

In an effort to hunt down the card and discover the truth, the buyer has set several strategies in motion, including starting a private investigation, pursuing legal action, and offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide legitimate information about the card's location. 

Should the card prove stolen, smpratte pointed out that the thief would face several roadblocks should they try to sell it. The card's case features a distinct certification and even if they removed it from the casing, its unique holographic pattern and centering would make it simple to identify. "At the end of the day this is going to be like stolen artwork. It's one of those things that you just cannot publicly sell, is something I don't think you could even sell at all," the streamer asserted. "Even if that happens, the buyer is still legally entitled to the card."

Due to the value of the card, the potential thief could be facing felony charges. In New York, the theft of property valued over $50,000 is considered grand larceny in the second degree, a class C felony. The court can sentence class C felons to up to 15 years in prison, with a possible fine of no greater than $15,000. Stealing mail is also a felony and federal offense and can result in a 5 year federal prison sentence and as much as $250,000 in fines.

Despite the drama and pointed fingers, smpratte asserted that the buyer would drop all legal action should their rightful property be returned. The two have worked together on past deals where items valued in the six-figure range were tampered with. Rather than seeking damages, the buyer was content as long as the situation was rectified. "All they care about is the card. All they care about is the collectible. They truly value these items, they want this piece. That's why they're willing to pay, you know, real money for it."

Anyone with information about the missing No. 3 Trainer card can contact smpratte or email PokeBeach.