A Marine Corps veteran in New Hampshire is now offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who can help police catch the man who broke into his gaming store and stole hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of playing cards.
Even though the crime isn't impacting day-to-day business and the store will be just fine, the owner tells NBC10 Boston this is deeply personal.
Merrymac Games and Comics is so much more than a hobby for owner Chris Lepkowski. The veteran says it's given him purpose again after returning from deployment in Afghanistan.
"It's such a mentality shift back to the civilian world and it's like, 'OK, what am I going to do with myself now?'" Lepkowski explained.
When the security alarm went off late Sunday night and he rushed to his store to see evidence of a burglary, Lepkowski called it a punch in the gut.
"It hurts," he said. "To me, it's a lot of disrespect."
Merrimack Police are looking for the burglar who was caught on indoor security cameras. They say he broke into the shop, went straight for a glass case, knocked it over and stole as many "Magic: The Gathering" cards as possible.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Lepkowski says those certain cards are known to be valuable. He thinks the thief made off with well over $1,000 worth of cards.
"I'm hoping it wasn't just for the thrill of it and I am hoping that he actually needed the money," he said. "But seriously, there's better ways to do it."
Better ways, Lepkowski says, like just asking.
"I've had guys say, 'Hey, I'm getting married, I need a down payment on a house,' and I'm like, 'Sure, let me help you out the best I can,'" Lepkowski said.
Loyal customer Eric Blackey told NBC10 Boston he's seen Lepkowski's generosity firsthand. He says through his service, his generosity and charity work, Lepkowski has become a beloved member of the Merrimack community.
That's why his customers say this criminal hit the wrong store.
"He's given a lot for the country, a lot for the community and to see a person take advantage of that it's really disheartening," Blackey said.
Lepkowski is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case.
He's also promising to donate $500 to that person's charity of choice.