Man says friend stole $200K of Star Wars memorabilia

PETALUMA, Calif. -- The largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia is in the Bay Area. And Monday night, the man who owns the impressive collection urged people to keep an eye out for dozens of items that were stolen.

They weren't taken by a random thief -- he blames a trusted friend.

On a property not so far away is the home of the world's largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia. Sansweet began his labor of love 40 years ago.

"It was a piece of the movie, bringing home a piece of the movie," said Sansweet. "I didn't mean to have the world's largest collection, it just happened."

But some key pieces are missing -- 120 pieces to be exact -- worth $200,000.

Authorities arrested his long-time friend Georgia resident and fellow Star Wars enthusiast, Carl Cunningham. He came to their attention after a Southern California dealer suspected he was selling stolen goods.

"We were totally devastated that someone we considered part of the family, someone who stayed with us, someone we shared meals with would do something like that," Sansweet said.

There are roughly 400,000 items in his collection, including every action figure.

Most of the items that were stolen are from a vintage period between 1977 and 1986 -- including a wind-up R2D2 worth $5,000, and a cardboard Death Star worth $1,000.

Actor Mark Hamill suggested that the list of stolen items be published for the Star Wars community.

Sansweet plans on doing just that in hopes that at least some of his items will be recovered.

"There's a lot of stuff still very much in the air," Sansweet said. "But we have faith in the force."
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