The great big Steam Heist – How one man walked out of Valve HQ with stolen consoles, games, and Gabe Newell’s minigun

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Steam-Heist

It was the perfect crime. Over at Valve’s Bellevue headquarters, one Shawn Shaputis had put together a plan that would enable him to break into the famed digital distribution company’s building and walk out with anything he could possibly get his hands on. The CD-ROM containing a janky half-built version of Half-Life 2: Episode 3? His for the taking. The schedule for Steam sales which could be ransomed to desperate clickbait-hungry websites looking to get a scoop? Right there, waiting to be pilfered and stored next to a business card with my contact details on them.

Shaputis instead went after more lucrative items that could easily be flipped on the video game black market, a hive of scum and villainy that trades in rare items such as locks of John Romero’s hair and while I’m making this bit up I would be not be surprised if it actually exists.

Using a cunning scheme of entering the Steam building through a “non-functioning stairwell door” according to Polygon, Saputis then ransacked the building several times as he stole games, equipment and video game consoles. In one return trip, Shaputis even managed to grab a few Nintendo Switch consoles, Steam machines and Newell’s prop minigun that was used in a 2011 Forbes magazine photoshoot.

So how did Shaputis walk out of Steam HQ with all of his ill-gotten booty? Did he employ a small squad of attractive actors, each one a specialist in a certain field, to help cause a distraction and give him a window of opportunity to scarper out of harm’s way? Not exactly. The burglar merely tossed everything he’d illegally acquired into a big rubbish bin on the 11th floor that Steam occupies, and then just walked out of the building with everyone inside being none the wiser, pocketing an estimate of $40,000 worth of stuff.

Police eventually caught Shaputis, with an official charge being laid against him last month for the great big Steam heist and numerous other burglaries such as making off like a bandit with an entire FedEx truck in 2018 and leading the thin blue line on a not so merry chase.

Last Updated: October 9, 2019

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