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Thread: Thieves caught on video at Worlds, TPCi does nothing

  1. #1

    Thieves caught on video at Worlds, TPCi does nothing

    My name is Mees Brenninkmeijer. I am a Pokemon player from the Netherlands that qualified for and participated in the 2013 Pokemon World Championships in Vancouver.

    On Monday, August 12, the day after the World Championship, my MacBook laptop as well as many valuable cards were stolen from my luggage at the bell keep desk of the Pan Pacific hotel. These items were stolen by two other players, Gino Lombardi and Jon Bristow, who were caught on video. Images from the video showing both Gino and Jon as well as an accompanying report from security explaining what was seen in the videos were sent to Dave Schwimmer. Additionally, eyewitnesses, including one who saw Jon and Gino with the stolen items, messaged Dave what they saw.



    The official security report from the Pan Pacific Hotel.

    This first picture, included in the report, shows Gino Lombardi, exiting the Pan Pacific with my bag in his hand.

    This second picture, also provided by Pan Pacific security, shows Jon Bristow exiting the Pan Pacific after stealing cards from my luggage.

    It is important to note after being caught, Jon returned all of my cards by mail. Gino never returned my computer or even responded to my messages. After receiving all of the evidence, TPCi's official response was as follows:

    "Mees, Thank you for the report. We will file this in Jon and Geno's files for future reference. We do not feel it would be appropriate for us to take any disciplinary action for this issue. The matter did not take place at the World Championships event, and should be handled directly by the authorities."

    The letter goes on to say that Jon and Gino will receive warning letters. The e-mail is signed by Dave Schwimmer.

    Of course, I was outraged when I read this. How could they not be suspended or banned? Why should I be subjected to these people in future tournaments? Why should any other players? What is going to stop Jon and Gino from stealing at future events, where there are hundreds of vulnerable out-of-town travelers and young children toting valuable cards and items?

    So who is on my side here? Not TPCi. They'd rather hide behind a technicality than keep this game safe for international travelers. Let it be known that if TPCi invites you out to a tournament and puts you up in a hotel you are on your own -- if others they've invited to that same tournament steal your things or commit any other crime that doesn't happen to occur exactly during tournament hours or within the play area, they don't care.

    Dave didn't say that Gino and Jon were innocent, or that TPCi didn't have enough evidence, he said that because it was outside of the tournament that it wasn't their concern. Well, when I'm invited by TPCi to a foreign country, I would expect TPCi to look after my safety instead of just "leaving things to the authorities."
    Last edited by PokePop; 09/18/2013 at 04:45 PM.

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  3. #2
    Before I make ANY comments about this, I do want to know one thing:

    What action was taken by "the authorities"?

    You have hard evidence. Neither of these guys should be getting off the hook legally. I'm not talking in Pokemon, but they both stole and were caught. You should get your laptop back at very least. You could get him arrested if not with evidence like this.
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  5. #3
    Unfortunately, because the crime occurred in Canada and the thieves fled to their home country of America before they could be arrested, there was nothing the Vancouver police could do. The police told us that in order for the U.S. and Canada to work together, the value of the stolen goods would have to be much higher. ):

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  7. #4
    Doesn't the hotel have some responsibility to ensure that bags in their care are not freely available to anyone that happens to walk by?
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  9. #5
    This just seems pretty bs to be honest. The fact that TPCI seemingly just wants to leave themselves out of it just seems like an easy way out :/

  10. #6
    So basically if anyone wants to steal cards or other belongings from someone at an event without repercussion from TCPi all they have to do is wait for the event to be over? And when exactly is the event "over"? Right after the championship match is played? Right after the closing ceremony? At the stroke of midnight? Or what about the fact that - disregarding time and focusing in on the location, now - the cards weren't stolen at the actual event itself? And talking hypothetically for a moment, what if the individual isn't actually signed up for the event, but is an established player?

    Obviously there are a number of factors that go into these decisions, but the main concern and focus should simply be on whether or not you want these people around your events, not some arbitrary, unprincipled distinction(s). If TPCi had given this the proper thought, I think the appropriate outcome is rather obvious and in contrary to the decision TPCi has made regarding this matter.

    Also, note the inherent contradiction in the fact that they feel it would be inappropriate to take any disciplinary action given the fact it happened after the event, but have gone ahead and issued warning letters to Gino and Jon. Isn't a warning a type of disciplinary action? Does this mean that anyone could receive a warning letter any time they do anything wrong and TPCi is notified about it, or are the warning letters basically just an admission that this occurred close enough to the time of the event to warrant some sort of action, but for whatever reason they are not going to issue bans?
    Last edited by mattalvis; 09/17/2013 at 04:07 PM.

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  12. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by corypoke2 View Post
    Doesn't the hotel have some responsibility to ensure that bags in their care are not freely available to anyone that happens to walk by?
    Depends on what sort of liability they stated when people left bags there, although it's certainly poor form. However, I don't think the hotel failing or not in some potential responsibiity absolves anyone of their social responsibility not to steal things. I'm not sure how helpful this line of inquiry is to the Pokemon community in general, even though it might be useful to Mees individually.

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  14. #8
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    Wow, we can't trick a system at a prerelease, but if we are to steal cards and merchandise we get a nice letter in the mail with a hand slap?

    This is shocking!
    Last edited by Vegeta ss4; 09/17/2013 at 04:41 PM.
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  16. #9
    Maybe as a life lesson, do not bring valuable items to pokemon tournaments. It isn't like a computer is needed. Basically, bring your computer at your own risk.

    TPCi should have banned them though. Stealing is bad.

  17. #10
    I see thieving and Gino Lombardi and, though I've met him only once, am not surprised. Sorry to hear this happened to you. Can you not file charges with the local police where Gino lives?

  18. #11
    On Friday, the day of the Last Chance Qualifier, I entered the public restroom at the Convention Center and set my deck and dice box down on a nearby shelf before stepping in front of a urinal.

    From the corner of my eye, I spotted a man approach the shelf, then immediately begin heading towards the exit. I peeked back at the shelf and noticed my deck and dice missing. I hollered at the man walking towards the door, who froze. He was holding my deck and dice.

    This man attempting to steal my deck and dice was Jon Bristow. Jon froze, then said he was only taking my items as a joke. Not even knowing Jon, I of course did not find this funny. I let him know this, and gave him the benefit of the doubt, rather than create a scene involving security and/or police.

    Since learning of Mees's theft, I of course reported this incident to Dave. Jon publicly admits to taking my deck, but maintains it was a joke. Rather than opine on what I believe is Jon's obvious intention, I will let all of you read Mees's story and come to your own conclusions.

    Regarding Gino, those that know him will also attest that this is not the first act of thievery he has been involved in, either.

    Dave Schwimmer, as head of Organized Play, we expect you to keep your tournaments safe and enjoyable for everyone. By letting known thieves attend your events, you are putting all of your players and their property at risk. Please do the right thing and ensure that known thieves are not welcome at future events.
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  20. #12
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    If TPCi does nothing as I expect, then do the TO's have the right to deny Gino or John entry into a tournament...considering money is NOW involved?
    I'm not sxc anymore! :(

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  22. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by signofzeta View Post
    Maybe as a life lesson, do not bring valuable items to pokemon tournaments. It isn't like a computer is needed. Basically, bring your computer at your own risk.

    TPCi should have banned them though. Stealing is bad.
    I don't know about you, but if I was traveling half a world away, I would probably bring my laptop. Heck, as far as we know, he may not even has brought it into the tournament area, and just left it as his hotel room and, eventually, in his luggage. I don't think "keep better track of your stuff" is a legitimate argument here.
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  24. #14
    I am not taking any sides on this, but I will post the following.

    I think this is a hypocritical move by TPCi.

    In the spring of 2012, two time National Champion and famous Spanish VGC player Rubén Puig Lecegui was banned from Pokemon events indefinitely for an incident that took place outside of the actual event. Him and a couple of Spanish players stayed at a hotel the night before and were horsing around, and Ruben decided it would be funny to place a piece of dung in the hallway. (There was no flinging of dung, which most articles online state). Him and his friends were kicked out of the hotel and fined. He proceeded to win a 2nd national championship the day after, but once TPCi was alerted of what happened in the hotel, he was banned -- his title stripped, invite/trip to Hawaii gone, and he is still not allowed to play to this day. (While this does not matter much, Ruben was one of the most famous European players in VGC and Spain's best player at the time, having qualified for Worlds the past two years and finishing 3rd in 2011. He was a good guy and worked hard/played fair to earn his accomplishments, but one mishap ended his time in competitive Pokemon)

    Dave then posted on a VGC forum the following:

    "The Pokémon Company International expects its players to maintain high standards of behaviour conducive to the family-friendly environment that we foster. The Pokémon Company International conducts full investigations into any matters where we believe that a player has failed to maintain these standards, and take appropriate action when necessary. In this case, we have found that unacceptable behaviour did take place, and have taken the appropriate steps in response.

    Thank you,
    Dave Schwimmer
    Pokemon Organized Play Manager"

    Ruben's incident caught onto social media and was passed around the internet, including the popular website Kotaku, while this incident has not blown up nearly as much. I feel that TPCi was under a lot of pressure around the incident and the only logical move would be to ban Ruben over what happened while they are trying to take the easy way out this time. In fact, had Mees not posted about this, I would have just assumed this conflict was dropped.

    Once again, I have no opinion on this matter nor am I taking sides, but I am expressing an incident that happened earlier in the competitive scene and I feel it contradicts the actions they have taken here.
    Last edited by Prodigiosus; 09/17/2013 at 04:27 PM.
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  26. #15
    I wish to apologize. I am in the second picture along with other VGC players. Had we known what was going on we could've been more of a help. We wish you the best.
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  28. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Vegeta ss4 View Post
    Wow, we can't trick a system at a prerelease, but if we are to steal cards and merchandise we get a nice letter in the mail with a hand slap?

    This is shocking!
    Fixed.

    Yea, so someone playing the last match or so of a pre-release for someone that doesn't need the play points anyway results in a ban from Pokemon (before an appeal). Being caught stealing from other players results in a letter..... I'm sorry, but I really think the latter requires the ban.
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  29. #17
    I cant get any of the links to work >.>
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  30. #18
    I honestly can't believe they aren't doing anything about it. They give you the trip to worlds to play at THEIR main event, and once your items go missing, they fail to help you with the situation and all they do is just take notice and will know about it for the future? honestly, that's a not wise decision at all. I really hope we hear something soon, because I am NOT going to ANY event if they will attend/heck or people known to. That message is basically saying, "Hey, sorry Mees we don't care about your items, I mean we will take a note reference about it for the future, but sorry we don't want to do anything about it." Come on TPCI, the reason why he came to Canada was because of YOUR event. There should be some disciplinary actions taken, so future tournaments can feel safe.
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  32. #19
    What an unbelievable response by TPCi. There have been many documented cases of suspensions occurring as a result of something outside of an event. I'm not going to sit here and list them all, but I'm sure most people know what I'm talking about. While this outside of the event, it is a robbery and potentially threatens the safety and concerns of your future events. This is appalling.
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  34. #20

    Really poor decision making my the people in charge of Pokemon events

    I don't post often, just to ask rulings questions usually because I want to teach my son and his friends the right way to play pokemon. But more important to me is teaching them the right way to act in all situations, how to be good young men, and how to lead good lives. As a Pokemom and casual player I am disgusted by this and would strongly recommend that Mr. Schwimmer re-evaluate his position on this matter. It is absolutely appropriate and necessary for The Pokemon Company International to take action against those people (Jon and Geno) who have committed a crime. Shame on you! Think of the example you are setting when you make rulings, Mr. Schwimmer.




    "Mees, Thank you for the report. We will file this in Jon and Geno's files for future reference. We do not feel it would be appropriate for us to take any disciplinary action for this issue. The matter did not take place at the World Championships event, and should be handled directly by the authorities."

    The letter goes on to say that Jon and Gino will receive warning letters. The e-mail is signed by Dave Schwimmer.

  35. #21
    I rarely post here - I am a new player to Pokemon this year along with my son. I find it hard to believe that TPCi would ignore this situation and allow the continued presence of these individuals at Pokemon-sponsored events. It certainly causes me to rethink our participation at future events where they might be attending. I would strongly urge TPCi to reconsider their position on this matter.

  36. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Prodigiosus View Post
    I am not taking any sides on this, but I will post the following.

    I think this is a hypocritical move by TPCi.

    In the spring of 2012, two time National Champion and famous Spanish VGC player Rubén Puig Lecegui was banned from Pokemon events indefinitely for an incident that took place outside of the actual event. Him and a couple of Spanish players stayed at a hotel the night before and were horsing around, and Ruben decided it would be funny to place a piece of dung in the hallway. (There was no flinging of dung, which most articles online state). Him and his friends were kicked out of the hotel and fined. He proceeded to win a 2nd national championship the day after, but once TPCi was alerted of what happened in the hotel, he was banned -- his title stripped, invite/trip to Hawaii gone, and he is still not allowed to play to this day. (While this does not matter much, Ruben was one of the most famous European players in VGC and Spain's best player at the time, having qualified for Worlds the past two years and finishing 3rd in 2011. He was a good guy and worked hard/played fair to earn his accomplishments, but one mishap ended his time in competitive Pokemon)

    Dave then posted on a VGC forum the following:

    "The Pokémon Company International expects its players to maintain high standards of behaviour conducive to the family-friendly environment that we foster. The Pokémon Company International conducts full investigations into any matters where we believe that a player has failed to maintain these standards, and take appropriate action when necessary. In this case, we have found that unacceptable behaviour did take place, and have taken the appropriate steps in response.

    Thank you,
    Dave Schwimmer
    Pokemon Organized Play Manager"

    Ruben's incident caught onto social media and was passed around the internet, including the popular website Kotaku, while this incident has not blown up nearly as much. I feel that TPCi was under a lot of pressure around the incident and the only logical move would be to ban Ruben over what happened while they are trying to take the easy way out this time. In fact, had Mees not posted about this, I would have just assumed this conflict was dropped.

    Once again, I have no opinion on this matter nor am I taking sides, but I am expressing an incident that happened earlier in the competitive scene and I feel it contradicts the actions they have taken here.
    For this to gain the notice people want/it needs, I would advise posting it to reddit. They seem to have things posted on other news sites quite often. If it gains enough attention, justice could be served very swiftly.
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  38. #23
    Avatar Creator rokman's Avatar
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    Pokemon has banned people for way less than what happened in Vancouver. I'm honestly surprised the two suspects got off, scott-free.

  39. #24
    I don't care about Dave or anyone at TPCi admitting being wrong...But what I do care about is them changing their mind for the better on this issue. Our relationships with TPCi and Play! Pokemon are entirely at-will, meaning either side can sever it for any reason. Needless to say, raw proof of Gino stealing is reason enough to sever his at-will relationship with Pokemon, and bar him from tournaments for life.
    Last edited by Cyrus; 09/17/2013 at 05:36 PM.
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  41. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Raen View Post
    I don't know about you, but if I was traveling half a world away, I would probably bring my laptop. Heck, as far as we know, he may not even has brought it into the tournament area, and just left it as his hotel room and, eventually, in his luggage. I don't think "keep better track of your stuff" is a legitimate argument here.
    How would the thieves steal the property if the property is locked inside the hotel room? I don't know the full details, but the laptop wouldn't have been stolen if it was in the hotel room. It isn't like they are hackers who could hack the card key slot for the room door, or they know how to pick locks.

    When I have valuables, I know full well to never leave them unattended, or under lock and key.

    For those who drive cars, do you ever leave your car door unlocked? Do you ever leave your house door unlocked? I didn't think so. If you do, it is ripe pickings for a car theft or robbery.

    If being responsible to your belongings isn't an issue, then we would have seen more cases of thievery. Why was the OP's laptop and cards stolen, and not somebody else's? Maybe his stuff is easier to get to?
    Last edited by signofzeta; 09/17/2013 at 05:56 PM.

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