Boyer started buying Star Wars figurines for his three boys, now all adults, when they weren’t much more than anklebiters. In the early days they were just toys that were torn from their boxes and used for battles in the basement, but the family started collecting as the boys grew older. Since the 1990s, Boyer has been buying the figurines in threes — one for each son.
“It’s gut wrenching,” Boyer said. “It’s something we spent 25 years collecting. I have a son who has a traumatic brain injury. It was almost therapeutic for him.”
That son, Chris, lived in a group home in Rochester for awhile as he recovered from injuries from a car crash. He was within walking distance to a Toys ‘R’ Us store and spent hours checking the shelves there. If he saw something he didn’t think his dad had in his collection, he would call to check. He would use a debit card Wally Boyer provided to buy three of anything they didn’t have.
The hobby has evolved. Now they take family trips to places such as Chicago and New York City to get their toys, as well as a growing collection of comic books, signed by actors who played the screen roles of the figurines or authors of the comic books.
Chris Boyer said he enjoys flying to New York City, where his brother, Jon, lives, to attend the annual New York Comic Con convention.
“It’s a fun thing to go to for all of us,” Wally Boyer said.
Many of the items that were stolen used to be displayed on the walls in the basement of the former Jake’s Stadium Pizza restaurant near Minnesota State University. When that building was sold to make way for the new CVS store, the Boyers quickly realized there wasn’t going to be enough room for the collection at the restaurant’s new location just down Stadium Road.