As if GameStop hasn’t had enough challenges in staying afloat it has apparently become the primary target for a group of armed thieves who are primarily after Sony PlayStation 5 consoles. More than a dozen stores in the San Fernando Valley were hit last week and now GameStop is offering a $5,000 reward for any tips that lead to arrests. The local Los Angeles Fox affiliate spoke with the Head of GameStop loss prevention, Alan Fagergren, on the matter. “They’re armed, and they’re forceful, and they’re physical and violent. So that’s scary, especially for our employees,” said Fagergren.
The thieves are believed to be a part of a group that is using similar tactics where they pose as customers, wear hoodies and masks, threaten the employee (some GameStop stores only have one employee on hand following recent cutbacks), and eventually run out of the store with the consoles. “Sometimes they stay in the store and pose as customers even for a minute so the longer they’re in the store obviously the scarier it gets,” added Fagergren.
Despite the PS5 becoming more widely available now the console is still in high demand and at $500 per unit, it still has a substantial value, “It’s worth some money. Like I said they’re not cheap. Anyone who plays it loves it. We’re a target at the moment, yeah,” Fagergren said who adds “We’re done,” and “We want it to stop and feel safe in our stores.”
Nearly 30 stores were robbed across the nation in under 30 days
Polygon reports this is not the first batch of stores being targeted either as thieves on the other side of the U.S. are also taking advantage of the understaffed stores. From California to Tennessee and also Pennsylvania, there have been robberies from nearly 30 stores across the nation since the start of February. Kotaku reported that GameStop allegedly fired a 13-year veteran manager after 10 PS5 consoles were stolen from a store in Easton, PA.
GameStop employees are getting increasingly frightened, and frustrated and are taking to social media to express their concerns and criticize the company’s policies where a number of stores only have one person per shift. Even though GameStop is offering the reward many feel that even though increased staffing may not stop all the robberies it could potentially reduce them. While the PS5 seems to be the primary choice for thieves they are also snagging Xbox Series X consoles when it suits them.