Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2018 Issue

Texas Man Charged in $100,000 Comic Book Theft

The tell-tale camouflage cast and a hand truck for ease of stealing (Wichita Police video).

A Texas man has been arrested on two counts of burglary of a habitation for stealing comic books, along with a couple of rugs and other things. Marcus Alan Benner, 41, was charged with taking the comics from a Wichita Falls residence between June 30 and July 10. The residence was also burglarized two more times in July. This was not Benner's first encounter with the law.

 

The comics have been estimated to be worth $100,000.

 

Benner should have quit while he was ahead. It was the repeat visits to the home that led to his arrest. Between "visits," the owner placed surveillance cameras in the house. It captured what appears to be Benner collecting boxes of comics in the evidently vacant home. At one point he goes out and gets a hand truck to make it easier to carry the heavy boxes of comics to his getaway vehicle.

 

Detectives took images from the video to local dealer Galaxy Comics to see whether they recognized the thief. The owner did not, but said someone named "Marcus" had sold him two books earlier that day. That information and a tip led them to Benner.

 

Once brought to the police station, Benner was read his rights to legal representation. He agreed to waive those rights and speak to detectives, but then turned silent. They began writing up an arrest warrant and showed Benner the surveillance video. He remained uncooperative, but after being taken from the interview room and seated in the hall for a while, he changed his mind and confessed to the crime.

 

The piece of evidence that particularly led to Benner's arrest was one that is so often the downfall of careless criminals. They display some sort of unique identifier. Most often these days we see tattoos. Why criminals get tattoos is beyond me, even if they are fashionable. Perhaps they get them before deciding to turn to crime. In Benner's case it wasn't a tattoo. It was a cast, one with a camouflage pattern on it worn on his left arm. Not many people are running around with camouflage casts on their left arm. Of course, he could have hid the cast with a long-sleeve shirt. Instead, he entered the home shirtless. Perhaps it was a hot day in Wichita Falls. It's about to get hotter for Benner.

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