A Pokemon fan desperate to get a rare Zarude card has been arrested,after creating counterfeit popsicle sticks. The Japanese man was trying to scam a contest to get the Trading Card Game collectible.
No one could have ever guessed in 1998 that Pokemon cards would one day be worth as much as a house. In 2020, the TCG saw an explosion in value that had collectors scrambling to collect ’em all.
One fan, however, took things too far when they tried to scam a popsicle contest in Japan. The man’s attempt to get his hands on the rare Zarude collectible backfired and landed him in hot water with the police.
Pokemon fan arrested after card scam
In May, The Pokemon Company announced a collaboration with popular Japanese snack Garigari. Customers who bought the frozen treat had a chance to win a rare Sword & Shield card featuring Zarude. As a result, used popsicle sticks started selling on eBay for as high as $300.
A man looking to cash in on the craze decided to create fake versions of the sticks and sent them in to Akagi Nyugyo – the company that makes the snack. According to a report by Mainichi Shimbun, the 43-year-old from the Akita Prefecture was arrested after attempting the scam multiple times.
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“Around the beginning of November 2020, a total of 25 envelopes containing fake sticks [were sent] to Akagi Nyugyo,” the company told police. “A large number of hit sticks have arrived from people who seem to be the same person.”
Despite only coming out a few weeks ago at the time of writing, the Zarude promo is already feeling the effects of the Pokemon TCG exploding in popularity. So much so that the popsicle reward has sold anywhere from $400-800 on eBay, depending on the condition and grading.
Unfortunately, the skyrocketing prices also attracts criminals looking to get in on the boom. The makers of the Gagari treat cautioned fans from buying used sticks as they could also be counterfeits, like the perpetrator was trying to pass off.