Categories News

Attendees say multiple phones stolen at busy Toronto Comicon convention

Some fans and vendors who attended Toronto Comicon are speaking out about a slew of alleged phone thefts which occurred at the convention this past weekend, saying more needs to be done to prevent theft at the event.

Catherine Karisny has been coming to the convention for the past five years to help her boyfriend, who’s an exhibitor. She said she was busy at their booth on Sunday and noticed that her phone had been taken within minutes of it disappearing.

“It was 3:20 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and literally I noticed it within a 10-minute period of it being gone,” she told CTV News Toronto in an interview.

She said she went to security to report it “immediately,” and they walked her over to the lost and found office. There, an attendee was waiting behind her in line to report another phone theft. He told her that his phone had been stolen straight out of his pocket.

“They (security) seemed very calm, nonchalant; like this happens to them, like nothing,” Karisny said. “If this happens so easily, why was this not put out to the convention vendors and put out to the convention attendees: ‘Hey, we have a lot of theft?’ That’s the part that really upsets me.”

IN PHOTOS: Toronto Comicon 2024

In a statement to CP24.com, Fan Expo HQ, which organizes Toronto Comicon, said they were aware of reports of theft over the weekend and additional security was added.

“We did learn about a few unfortunate instances of theft that occurred on Saturday and acted quickly to increase security presence,” the group said in its statement. “Fortunately, some phones were just misplaced in the show and were returned to their owners. This was not a widespread issue and the rest of the event continued on Sunday without any reports of additional incidents.”

The group also noted that while the event was “busy” they were careful to make sure the venue was not over-capacity. Still, space was tight in some areas, with many people moving about packed closely together.

Toronto Comicon

Karisny said she knew her phone had been stolen because she was able to trace it to an apartment building in Scarborough using an app. However, she has no idea which unit it’s in. She said she’s in the process of filing a police report.

She said it’s not the first time that something has been stolen from their booth because there simply aren’t enough people to watch everything at the busy event. However, this theft hits harder because she had her wallet attached to the phone, and the device also held precious photos which had never been backed up.

She’s now out about $1,200 for the phone, which was not insured, as well as the irreplaceable photos.

“So that is absolutely heartbreaking for me and I’m sure many other people that got their phones stolen this weekend are in similar situations,” Karisny said.

Toronto Comicon 2024/IMG_E0019.JPG

A.J. Galzote and Alison Mccown say they’re in a similar situation. The two arrived at the convention around noon on Saturday. Then, around 2:30 p.m., when they were walking around the artists’ alley area, Galzote noticed that his phone was gone from his front pocket.

“There was like a lot of contact, I was constantly bumping into people. It was really hard to move around in general,” he told CTV News Toronto.

The two went to the lost and found when they realized the phone was gone, but they were told there was nothing that could be done unless the phone was turned in.

“After I posted on my Instagram story about his phone being lost and like ‘oh, keep an eye out’ because I thought it was like a one shot thing, people were responding and saying, ‘Oh, I had my phone lost or I had my bag tugged at’ or things like that,” Mccown said.

She said she’s reached out to Comicon and the convention centre but has yet to hear back.

Fan Expo HQ did not respond to a question about exactly how many phones went missing over the weekend.

Neither Toronto police nor the convention centre immediately responded to requests for comment.

– With files from CTV News Toronto