Target will stop selling all sports and Pokémon trading cards on shelves after a man was attacked over the red-hot collectibles, company officials said.
The move, effective Friday, is out of an “abundance of caution” for staff and shoppers following the violent confrontation last week outside a Target in Wisconsin that involved a victim pulling a gun on four men who attacked him during a disagreement over sports trading cards.
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” the retail giant told The Post in a statement Thursday. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14.”
Collectors can still buy the cards online, Target officials said. Signs of the new policy started appearing on shelves Wednesday, photos posted to Twitter show.
Police said the victim in Friday’s incident in a parking lot at a Target in Brookfield had minor injuries. No shots were fired, but the concealed carry weapons license holder had to pull out his gun to stop the fight over trading cards, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
It’s unclear which cards the men were fighting over at the time.
Four suspects between the ages of 23 and 35 were arrested for assaulting the 35-year-old victim after he left the store, police said. It’s unclear what cards the men were fighting over at the time. Charges of battery, strangulation and disorderly conduct will be presented to prosecutors regarding the incident, the newspaper reported.
The Target was briefly locked down during the altercation, as well as a nearby Trader Joe’s and a children’s clinic, according to WISN.
Collectors are seeing resale value of trading cards increase dramatically amid the COVID-19 pandemic — with some selling for up to five times the purchase price, one owner of a sports memorabilia shop told the station.
“It’s almost like the golden ticket Willy Wonka theory,” said Jeff Lemieux of Jeff’s Sports. “It’s a big value, and they’re hard to get, but you might get it … People looking for sports cards has just skyrocketed.”
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target said about removing trading cards from stores.Alamy Stock Photo
Target had recently limited shoppers to purchasing just one trading card item prior to the new policy, citing sky-high demand, WITI reported.
“It’s kind of ridiculous,” Target shopper Sheri Rowell told the station of Friday’s attack, saying some customers and employees hid in woods behind the store. “It’s just kind of sad for the kids, I feel like. It just sounds kind of ridiculous that adults got into a fight in the parking lot about trading cards.”
A message seeking comment from Target was not immediately returned Thursday.