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Investigation over discovery of Nicolas Cage's rare comic

April 12, 2011 12:51:22 AM PDT
Along with being a fine actor, Nicolas Cage is also a "collector." One of the things he likes to collect is comic books.

Ten years ago someone broke into his home and stole a rare, first edition, Superman comic book. And after all these years, the comic book finally turned up.

It is one of the rarest of all comic books, "Action Comics #1", where Superman makes his first appearance. It was ten cents back in 1938, now it's worth more than $1 million.

"I hired security, enforcement, armed security enforcement," said collectibles expert Mark Balelo. "Just because the fact is I knew there was $1 million in front of me."

Balelo said when a man brought it into his Simi Valley warehouse a few weeks ago he knew it was valuable, only about nine exist in this condition. This particular copy was stolen from the actor.

"Sometimes it turns out to be too good to be true and therefore it was a stolen book," said Balelo.

That's when the LAPD's Art Theft Detail got involved, setting up an undercover operation where they posed as comic book buyers.

"I was there along with a comic book expert, who happened to be the original person that sold it to Nicolas Cage," said LAPD Detective Donald Hrycyk. "And so we were able to determine that in fact it was the same comic book."

The man told detectives he found it in a storage locker like this one, but he said he bought the contents of several lockers at auction and can't remember which one. Police are checking out if that's true.

"We don't know, that is his story," said Hrycyk. "Ultimately, what we are hoping for is that maybe this paper trail and witnesses will help us find how the comic book disappeared from Nicolas Cage's home in the first place."

Meanwhile through his publicist Cage issued a statement saying,

"It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family."

Cage's insurance company paid him when the comic book was stolen ten years ago, so the owner is now the insurance company. And no one is sure who will get it when all of this is over.