Break-in at Everyone Comics and Collectibles

Dimitrios Fragiskatos at Everyone Comics and Collectibles

By Charlie Finnerty | [email protected]

Everyone Comics and Collectibles at 41-26 27 Street was broken into in the early hours of Jan. 24, according to the shop’s owner Dimitrios Fragiskatos. The culprit smashed the glass door to the shop with a rock and stole cash out of the register as well as a laptop. Fragiskatos said he was alerted by a neighbor in the morning with a picture of broken glass and rushed into the shop from his home in Brooklyn. All in all, Fragiskatos estimates the combined value of the cash and the laptop stolen was roughly $500, but the damage to the store, replacing lost items and the loss of business will cost Everyone Comics around $3,500. 

“There was glass all over the inside of the store,” Fragiskatos said. “He left everything undisturbed that wasn’t the cash. We have a $2,000 Magic box of older [Magic: The Gathering] cards, we have comic books that are valued at $100 or more, and yet he did not do anything with those.”

From CCTV footage outside the store, Fragiskatos said he was able to estimate that the whole break-in took about 10 minutes.

“It started at 2:40 a.m. and all ended at 2:50,” Fragiskatos said. “And he just walked away casually with the laptop and the bag of cash.”

After surveying the damage and consulting with a repair service for the glass replacement, Fragiskatos launched an online GoFundMe fundraiser which surpassed its goal in less than a week.

“I was resistant to doing the GoFundMe at first. But we’re new, we opened up about two years ago. It’s still been month to month,” Fragiskatos said. “Our goal was 3,500 bucks. It was to just basically make rent, replace everything and we surpassed it.”

Calvin KG, a Ridgewood resident and regular customer at Everyone Comics, said his cash was likely in the register when it was robbed.

Everyone Comics and Collectibles

“This place is friendlier and happier than most comic stores,” KG said. “Moral of the story, don’t break into peoples stores. Why would you? Unless you’re desperate.”

Fragiskatos, who co-founded the store with his business partner Alex Ray two years ago, said that support from the broader comic book community was just as important as local support from people in LIC.

“There are people who contributed to the GoFundMe from outside the neighborhood,” Fragiskatos said. “I would actually say far more people contributed from the comic book community than from Queens proper, but we did have a lot of people contributing from Queens. Customers of course, but also people who I’m not familiar with.”

GoFundMe was not the only fundraising option initially considered, according to Fragiskatos.

“I thought maybe we could resell the rock [used to break the glass] as a collectible to make up our money back, but the police were like, ‘No, we have to take it for evidence,” Fragiskatos said.

Loyal customers were quick to offer their help and support after word about the break-in spread through the LIC community.

“I’d say it’s been more positive than negative,” Fragiskatos said. “Customers came in to show their support throughout the course of the day. Some of them helped me tape up the broken door with cardboard.”

Fragiskatos said that while the overwhelming support from the Queens and comic book communities has been encouraging, he hopes that support can help establish Everyone Comics as a community center in LIC.

“It’s gratifying to know that people care about a comic book store existing. It’ll keep us going for sure, but I also want to be more than a charity case for Long Island City. I want to be a place where people want to hang out,” Fragiskatos said. “It’s really up to Long Island City and the rest of Queens to decide whether we should be here. They’ve made a decision through the GoFundMe that they do want to see us here.”

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