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Toys and Games

Famous Star Wars collector robbed of rare items

Steve Sansweet reveals that a major theft occurred at his Rancho Obi-Wan museum. Find out how you can help track down the stolen goods.

Just a few of the many rare Star Wars items in Steve Sansweet's impressive collection. 

Bonnie Burton/CNET

Anyone with the largest Star Wars memorabilia collection in the world is bound to be envied by fans. But having such an impressive stash can also make you a target of thieves. 

Collector Steve Sansweet, who has an immense collection of 300,000 Star Wars items in his nonprofit museum Rancho Obi-Wan, has been robbed of more than 100 valuable items.

According to a statement posted Monday on Sansweet's website, the majority of the collectibles stolen are "vintage US and foreign carded action figures, many of them rare and important pieces. Most have either been resold or professionally appraised for a total of more than $200,000."

The theft came to Sansweet's attention when a fellow collector came forward after buying items from another collector. The products turned out to be from Rancho Obi-Wan.

The alleged thief -- another well-known collector named Carl Edward Cunningham -- has already surrendered after an arrest warrant from the Sonoma County, California, Sheriff's Department was issued in March. He was charged with felony grand theft and is currently out on bail, awaiting trial. 

"The betrayal by a 'friend' of 20 years is as devastating as the thefts, which he had admitted to me in texts and emails," Sansweet said. "Posting my letter to fans and collectors today has brought out a lot of support, a few promises of returned stolen objects, and some more leads to follow."

Sansweet is asking fans with further information about Cunningham's activities or items he has sold to contact tips@ranchoobiwan.org. If fans think they have purchased a stolen item, they are asked to also contact Sansweet and to "be patient while we work through this process."

Cunningham could not be reached for comment. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department did not immediately reply to a request for further information about the arrest. 

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