Target Suspends Sale of Pokémon Cards Due to Safety Concerns

Pokemon trading cards are arranged for a photograph at the Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo store in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.
Pokemon trading cards are arranged for a photograph at the Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo store in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Target has decided to stop selling Pokémon and other trading cards in its stores after an incident at a Wisconsin location involving a gun earlier this month.

After a fight over Pokémon cards in a Target parking lot, the company has decided to take all trading cards off of its shelves, including the beloved Pokéman playing cards, which have reportedly skyrocketed in value since the beginning of the pandemic, according to reports.

Ever since the pandemic started, fans have been overly committed to trading and collecting Pokémon cards, Vice News reported. Passionate traders and collectors turned violent in a Target parking lot in Brookfield, Wisconsin, last Friday when a fight broke out over limited cards, Fox 6 based in Milwaukee reported.

Police were called to the scene after onlookers observed a gun was brandished during the chaos, according to reports. The Target and Trader Joe's went into a lockdown for an hour while they waited on authorities to arrive.

According to a criminal complaint, a 35-year-old man was physically assaulted by four men who were later arrested and charged with battery, strangulation, and disorderly conduct. The victim pulled the gun, which he was legally carrying, and the attackers fled the scene. No shots were fired and no one was seriously injured.

The store eventually restocked the trading cards but the company has decided to temporarily remove all trading cards from its shelves. Target has even posted signs to tell customers that Pokémon, MLB, NFL, and NBA cards would no longer be sold.

Target made the temporary suspension "out of an abundance of caution" for the safety of its employees and customers, the company said in a statement to The Verge.

An image circulating online made consumers believe Walmart had also imposed a suspension but in a statement to The New York Times, a spokesperson said that the company did not suspend any sale of trading cards.

Walmart added that it had seen an increased demand for the playing cards and was in the process of "determining what, if any, changes are needed," the outlet reported.

The first Pokémon card game was released in 1996. It is a strategy game consisting of imaginary animal-like characters that live within the beloved Pokémon world, who battle each other and evolve over time.

The value of the playing cards has increased in the last year alone, the Times reported. In March, a rare Pikachu card was traded for $900,000 worth of playing cards. Famous YouTuber Logan Paul has bought $2 million worth in the cards.

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