Today, I bring you a true crime story about Tiny Epic Crimes…
Last week, one of our project backers alerted us to a concerning Facebook Marketplace post originating from southern California. The post advertised the sale of brand new board games by the pallet, with a prominent display of Tiny Epic Crimes and Tiny Epic Crimes Kingpins on top of the sealed cartons.
This discovery raised suspicions, given that we are currently in the final stages of fulfilling our campaign and the games are not yet available for mass market distribution. Furthermore, we have approximately 2,000 backers eagerly awaiting their games, and the last known tracking information places these games in southern California.
To make matters worse, just before the discovery of this post, our fulfillment partner informed us that the packages in this area were officially missing. Adding insult to injury, these missing packages were marked as delivered within our third-party tracking software.
The situation at hand was both intriguing and worrisome. It was essential for us to investigate this matter further to ensure the integrity of our project and protect the interests of our backers.
As we delved further into the poster’s profile, we stumbled upon an additional photo revealing our project’s products amidst a bin of assorted goods.
At this juncture, we were certain that our missing games had been stolen and time was of the essence. Simultaneously, we received private messages from other backers who had reached out to the Facebook seller and established contact with them. They managed to obtain an address, a phone number, and a name for arranging the purchase of our stolen products. Armed with this crucial information, we promptly contacted the local police department in that area, as well as our own local police, to open a case.
Initially, we encountered some resistance from both departments due to the challenging nature of the case and our lack of complete information regarding how these games were taken from Long Beach Port and ended up in the seller’s warehouse.
However, after escalating our case to the Mayor and Chief of Police of the southern California city where we suspected our products were, we finally received the much-needed cooperation. On Thursday, October 19th, we were contacted by a detective who assured us that they would be paying a visit to the warehouse the following day at 3:30pm.
Having a sneaking suspicion that our best chance of recovering our products would be if we were present, we made the decision to leave our office in Arizona on Friday morning and drive to California to meet the detective at the police station ourselves. We brought copies of each product to provide the detective with tangible evidence for their investigation.
To our surprise, the detective was impressed by our proactive approach and arranged for us to follow safely behind as he partnered up and headed towards the warehouse.
Our instructions were clear: we were to wait while the detectives initiated contact with the seller. If the products were still at the warehouse, they would inform us of the next steps. The anticipation was overwhelming as we anxiously wondered if the items had already been sold or relocated.
Then, a series of text messages arrived, bringing us both relief and excitement. “They’re here. They’re being cooperative, and I’ll call you guys over in a few.” We collectively breathed a sigh of relief, grateful that our efforts were paying off.
After what felt like an eternity, the detectives returned, beckoning us to join them. We were finally face-to-face with the seller, who greeted us with unexpected kindness, expressing sincere apologies and a genuine willingness to return our stolen merchandise. He explained that he had unknowingly purchased the products, oblivious to their stolen status. As the pallets were carefully maneuvered from their hiding spot behind the warehouse, we wasted no time in securing a Uhaul to transport our recovered goods back home.
We inspected the cartons to confirm their authenticity, and to our delight, there it was – Tiny Epic Crimes!
So we took note of the inventory, using a Tiny Epic Crimes Notepad of course! 😉
With everything accounted for, we loaded the recovered goods into the Uhaul.
Which now occupies a prominent, albeit cumbersome, space in our home office!
In total, we managed to recover an impressive 36 cartons of product. Although we haven’t yet counted each individual package, based on our initial assessment, we suspect that nearly all 2,000 units have been retrieved!
With the incredibly ironic crime of Tiny Epic Crimes now solved, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the backers who played a crucial role in providing the leads and details that ultimately led to cracking this perplexing case. In no particular order, we extend our deepest thanks to Audrey M., Adam J., Edward G., and Bryan B. Your contributions have been invaluable!
Moreover, we would like to extend our profound gratitude to the detectives, Chief of Police, and the esteemed Mayor for their involvement and support in the successful recovery of our stolen goods. Their willingness to assist has been instrumental in bringing this matter to a safe closure.
TL;DR – Nearly 2,000 packages were stolen from the port in Long Beach and based on backer leads we tracked down the packages in southern California and recovered them.
Now, let’s address the important question that approximately 2,000 of you are undoubtedly pondering: when and how will you receive your games?
To provide some context, last week, before this crime bust occurred, we dispatched emails informing you that starting this week, our domestic fulfillment company would repack and reship these orders using our excess stock. However, the recovered orders are still packaged, labeled, and ready for distribution, with all the necessary payments made.
We understand the anticipation and eagerness surrounding the delivery of your games. Rest assured, we are actively working to resolve this situation promptly and efficiently. Our team is diligently coordinating with the postal service to ensure the smooth processing and shipment of your orders.
To ensure absolute clarity, we have proactively taken a few of these orders to the post office to personally inquire about their delivery status. To our delight, we discovered that all of them are still deliverable. Despite being marked as delivered in our third-party software, their USPS tracking numbers have not yet been scanned into the system. Moreover, the packages we dropped off on Monday are scheduled to reach their destinations by Wednesday. Therefore, we are confident that the most expedient way for you to receive your games is to promptly ship these packages.
Tracking: We regret to inform you that the tracking information you currently possess will not be updated as it is linked to a third-party software. However, we have good news! All packages have been sent via priority mail, ensuring a transit time of 2 to 3 days. Today, on Tuesday the 24th, we will be delivering the packages to the post office. Therefore, we anticipate that you can expect their arrival by either Thursday the 26th or Friday the 27th.
Cash On Delivery: We do have a lingering concern regarding a potential recurrence of the cash on delivery fee that approximately 90 backers had to report and be reimbursed for. We have promptly raised this concern with our local post office supervisor, who has assured us that there appear to be no issues when scanning the label. That the postage is fully paid and there are no red flags. Of course, if you are ultimately requested to pay an additional fee to receive your game, we kindly ask that you do so and email us the receipt for a full and prompt reimbursement. We understand the inconvenience this may cause, and we assure you that we will promptly address any such issues.
Address Change Requests: If you are one of the backers who have been affected and have requested a change of address, it is not feasible to separate your order from the recovered units and accommodate that change. Therefore, we will ship your package as it is. Fortunately, due to the short transit time, we will be able to determine promptly if mail forwarding is unsuccessful. Rest assured, if you are unable to receive this shipment, we will definitely resend your rewards to your new address.
Australia/New Zealand Backers: We are pleased to inform you that your rewards will be shipped very soon by our trusted partner, VR Distribution. We kindly request your continued patience and sincerely apologize for the unexpected delay.
All Other Concerns: If you are NOT part of the backers affected by this crime, and you are currently facing any difficulties in receiving your rewards, we ask that you please refer to Update #16 and follow the instructions for the scenario that matches your situation.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by all of this. We value your patience and understanding during our handling of this uniquely challenging hurdle.
Michael and the Gamelyn team.