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In this undated photo provided by Rancho Obi-Wan is a ceremony taking place at the Star Wars museum, Rancho Obi-Wan, in Petaluma, Calif. A Georgia man is facing felony grand theft charges for stealing more than $200,000 worth of prized Star Wars vintage action figures from the California nonprofit museum where roughly 400,000 pieces of memorabilia are stored and shown to visitors. The museum founder says that more than 100 pieces were stolen starting from 2015 to 2016 by a friend who stayed at the compound four times during that period. (Anne Neumann/Rancho Obi-Wan via AP)

Star Wars memorabilia worth $200,000 was stolen from a private collection in California


The man who has the largest privately-owned Star Wars collection in the world announced Monday that he's been systematically robbed over the course of several months. 

Steve Sansweet -- the owner of the collection, who also operates the Rancho Obi-Wan museum in Petaluma, California -- said $200,000 worth of vintage action figures were stolen from his nonprofit museum. 

About 120 pieces were stolen between 2015 and 2016 by a friend who had stayed at the compound four times during that period, Sansweet said.

The thefts were discovered when a collector posted news about a rare Boba Fett action figure being stolen from his Texas warehouse. A respected toy dealer in Southern California immediately notified the collector that he'd purchased the action figure from Carl Edward Cunningham of Marietta, Georgia.The two quickly concluded the items were likely stolen from Sansweets collection.

Police arrested 45-year-old Cunningham, and in March, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office charged him with felony grand theft.

Cunningham is currently free on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on June 27 for a preliminary hearing.

On the museum's website, Sansweet wrote that he had considered Cunningham a "good and trusted friend." 

"Not only have important items been stolen from the collection, but also our time, energy and ability to trust unconditionally have taken a blow," Sansweet wrote.

So far, about 100 of the stolen items have been recovered. 

Star Wars actors Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew tweeted about the news Monday, hoping to help Sansweet find the rest of the stolen memorabilia. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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