Burglar steals valuable comic books from Friends of the Seattle Public Library

SEATTLE — A burglary has a nonprofit scrambling, and the crime left Seattle police, little to go on.

Someone stole $700 in cash and comic books that could be worth thousands of dollars from Friends of the Seattle Public Library.
The nonprofit was going to have a comic book sale July 13, but the burglary has forced them to cancel.

The sale was supposed to happen in the office of Friends of the Seattle Public Library in the SoDo neighborhood. On Monday, however, a thief broke into the locked building and into the suite where the nonprofit's office is located.

The office is still filled with boxes upon boxes of donated comic books.

“DC, Marvel, independent – the whole gamut is in amazing shape,” said Carmen Bendixe, a board member of Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

Many of the comics are first editions in mint condition, still in plastic sleeves. There are also autographed copies.

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“We got a huge donation from one single donor,” Bendixe said.

The nonprofit had just started advertising its comic book sale. The proceeds would have gone to the Seattle Public Library.

You can still see the damage left on the door to the group's office from the break-in.

“The office had been rifled through. Drawers open, files open,” Bendixe said.

“They spent rifling through, picking the choice ones they wanted, however many that was, from a nonprofit organization that raises money for the library. It's a particular kind of greed that makes you do something like that,” she said.

The nonprofit says it contacted Seattle police and apparently, the thief wore gloves.

“No fingerprints. And we're still not sure how they even got in here,” Bendixe said.

Another challenge is that the nonprofit didn’t have time to fully inventory or appraise the value of what they had.

As a result, employees don't know the titles or even how many works were stolen. But each could potentially be worth thousands.

“The fact that someone took advantage of that, it makes me sad, but it also makes me angry,” Bendixe said.

Without knowing the titles, tracking the stolen property is nearly impossible, but the nonprofit is asking comic book buyers to help out by keeping an eye out for any sales that seem suspicious and report that activity to Seattle police.

Friends of the Seattle Public Library is the group that hosts the big book sale at the Seattle Center every year.

It still plans to have the comic book sale, but there's no date yet. It needs time to inventory and appraise what it has left.