A screen-used Darth Vader helmet, along with other Star Wars memorabilia, was stolen from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot offices in Santa Monica. 38-year old Frank Hebert (not to be confused with the iconic Dune author), was arrested early Monday morning when caught with the goods in a shopping cart. According to Santa Monica law enforcement, Bad Robot surveillance video shows Herbert on the premises and then leaving with his shopping cart filled to the brim. Herbert allegedly got up on to the roof and broke into the offices from there.
After getting into the Bad Robot offices, Frank Herbert took a screen-used Darth Vader helmet and a Storm Trooper helmet, along with some other items that were seen on the big screen in various Star Wars movies. Law enforcement says that Herbert “casually” walked out of the building with his shopping cart, though he was located soon after. Herbert was found on the street with some pillows covering the goods. Thankfully, everything was returned to Bad Robot and nothing was damaged in the process. Herbert was booked for felony non-residential burglary.
Unfortunately, Star Wars memorabilia is stolen all of the time. Rancho Obi-Wan is an independent museum housing the world’s largest Star Wars memorabilia collection. It has been amassed since 1976 by super-collector/author Steve Sansweet. In 2017, Sansweet reported that one of the major holy grails was stolen from his collection. The item in question is one of the 1979 Boba Fett action figure prototypes with the rocket pack. The figure has since been returned, but if the thief would have gotten away, he could have sold it for nearly $100K.
As it turned out, the Boba Fett figure was far from the only thing stolen from Rancho Obi-Wan over the years. Carl Cunningham was allegedly taking quite a bit from the California spot, and from Phillip Wise, who is in Texas. This happens a lot since the Star Wars franchise is so massive. The original toys that came out in the late 1970s fetch huge prices online and through auctions to this day, but getting stuff that was used on the big screen is a whole other level of collecting and pricing.
Had Frank Herbert gotten away with the Darth Vader helmet alone, he would have been in for a massive payday once he was able to prove that it was the real deal. However, by that time, it would have been common knowledge that Bad Robot had lost their very same helmet, which may have made selling the helmet publicly quite difficult. Regardless, it is back and safe in the office now, though it will probably get some major cleaning after its shopping cart adventure overnight. TMZ was the first to report on the stolen Star Wars memorabilia making it back to the Santa Monica offices of Bad Robot.