A man charged in a large comic book theft from a Shelton, Connecticut, storage unit has declined the prosecution's offer of a plea bargain. Thirty-four year old Saul Salazar turned down the offer of a ten-year prison sentence to be suspended after three years along with five years of probation. According to the New Haven Register, Salazar's attorney said only that his client was not willing to accept the state's offer. The reason could be one of many, seeking a better deal, willing to take his chance with a jury, or simply being innocent of the charges. The judge told Mr. Salazar that the charges could bring a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison.
The case goes back to the summer of 2019 when 532 comics were stolen from the storage unit. They have been valued at $200,000. The collection included valuable editions of Spider Man, the Fantastic Four, X-men, and Captain America. A few weeks later, the owner saw some of his comics being offered for sale in a store in New Haven. The store owner told him he purchased the comics for $800 from one of Salazar's co-defendants in the case.
The three men were arrested on February 21, 2020. At the time, the Shelton Police reported that all of the comics had been recovered. Salazar reportedly had a storage unit near the one belonging to the collector. According to the Register, Salazar claimed he found the comic books and agreed to an interview with the detectives, but failed to show and was pulled over two hours after the scheduled time. Two bags of comics were found in the car in which he was riding.
The two other defendants, father and son James Wadsworth Sr. and James Wadsworth Jr., are scheduled to appear in court on January 25, 2022, and December 7, 2021, respectively.
Vintage comic books have become highly collectible in recent years and with that prices have skyrocketed. The downside is that they have become very desirable to thieves too.