Shoppers going about their business at a suburban Milwaukee Target store on Friday morning found themselves in the midst of the latest horrific incident in the sports card hobby.
A dispute between five men over the weekly distribution of retail boxes, many of which were returned for profit, erupted into a brawl outside the store. It was at this point that a man who was the target of the assault pulled out a gun, according to multiple Milwaukee media reports.
Brookfield Police were called to the target on Bluemound Road where they learned that a 35-year-old man had been attacked by four men, aged 23 to 35. During the assault, the victim, who held a concealed carry permit, drew his gun and pointed it at the assailants who then left. They were arrested soon after.
Many Target stores have started limiting card sales to one box per customer every Friday. It is known that interested buyers line up hours in advance in the hope of getting a box.
Entire families are known to come, knowing that they can easily return the boxes (usually around $ 30) for a substantial profit on eBay or elsewhere. The frenzy sometimes looks like Black Friday.
Unconfirmed online reports from collectors have indicated that the men accused of the assault may have taken umbrage at the man’s actions during the card hunt at stores in the Milwaukee area that morning.
Shoppers interviewed said the Brookfield store was locked down while police investigated, with confusion and uncertainty inside leading some to run back from the store to safety. Fox 6 in Milwaukee spoke to one of them:
WISN-TV checked into a local hobby store to see what it was.
Police said charges of assault and battery, strangulation and disorderly conduct will be brought to the Waukesha District Attorney’s Office against the four men who were arrested.
Some Walmart and Target stores have stopped offering collectable card boxes in stores with directional signs saying it was to ensure the safety of employees and guests.