Florida man arrested in Arizona, accused of stealing at least $100,000 worth of comics

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- New details are emerging in the case of a Florida man arrested in Arizona, accused of trying to sell stolen comic books totaling at least $100,000.

Collectors know there are only so many of these rare comic books in circulation, so when 400 of them worth an estimated $1.5 million go missing, that means it's a mystery that only a handful of heroes can solve.

"They got him. They got him and he's in -- he's in a lot of trouble," said Randy Lawrence.

Phillip Weisbauer's scheme to sell stolen rare comic books to a Mesa shop owner was stopped, because of a text.

"One of comic book store owners said, 'hey, there's a guy who just got off the transit with a duffel bag full of very expensive golden age Batman comics. Is anyone missing any of these?'" said Ponseti. "I send him a link to the bleeding cool story and said, 'I'm not, but this guy in Florida is.'"

Four decades of experience in the comic book business, and Bill Ponseti and his colleagues look out for one another.

"'Cause somebody could steal from me and then go sell to my competitor, and I'd be out the books," said Ponseti. "I've been a victim here of theft in the shop before, and they were recovered by a friendly comic book story in the Valley."

Weisbauer's heist in Florida, and attempt to swindle the Gotham City Comic Shop, reminded Ponseti of why the hobby is such a delicate money maker.

 "I tried to find out and ask him probative questions, and I ask him 'wow these are great. How did you get these? Did you buy them off the newsstand as a kid?' and if he says yes, and the books are from the 60's and he's in his early 30's, I know he's lying to me," said Ponseti.

Until next time, the comic book heroes hope the rest of the mystery gets solved.

"All this money I've put into it over the last 30-40 years. To have this happen, it's devastating," said Lawrence.

Weisbauer was set a bond of $25,000, which he posted 11 days ago, becoming a free man. The four that Weisbauer was trying to sell was worth $100,000, and he might be the only one that knows yet where the rest of them are. 

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