Stop Thief by Parker Brothers was an extraordinary board game to play in 1979 when it was first published. The game of cops and robbers was electronic! Of course these days’, electronic games are everywhere. But they weren’t back then! The computerized crime scanner sounded clues and the players, acting as detectives, were on a race to catch the thief before he struck again.
Even now Stop Thief is an awesome game to play. The game starts with pressing the electronic crime scanner which sounds off the alarm of a crime being committed. The scanner displays the building number (on the game board) for where the crime happened. In each building there are at least 4 red crime spaces and so the criminal could be at any one of them.
It is then up to the players to track him down. Tracking the thief involves using the crime scanner. During each player’s turn they are allowed to press ‘Clue’ on the scanner. Different sounds are made to indicate where or what the criminal is doing. As he moves through the building a player will be able to deduce where he is at and try to arrest him.
The ‘Clues’ the players listen to reveal whether the thief opened a door, broke a window, committed another crime, ran down the street, escaped on the subway, or merely walked across the floor. All of these ‘Clues’ will help the players figure out where he is at and then the player can make an arrest. Hopefully the arrest is successful. There are some cases where the thief gets away or wasn’t where a player thought. If the arrest is completed then the player receives the Reward Money for catching him. The winner of the game is the first person to earn 2,500 hundred dollars in Reward Money.
At the start of each round, players draw a ‘WANTED’ card. These are humorous accounts of the criminals for which the players are seeking. As detectives the players could be after ‘Bunny and Clod’. They are petty thieves with a reward of 1000 dollars. On the back of each Wanted Card are details about the criminals. The following is about Hans Offe:
“Hans is especially handy at crowded locations where, because of his size, he usually goes completely unnoticed. Steals everything—including the pockets themselves. Outstanding warrants for: Entering a movie theater with a children’s ticket and pretending to be an obstacle at a miniature gold course.”
As a vintage board game, Stop Thief can usually be found on Ebay for sale. If interested in buying one just be sure it has a working scanner. Since the ‘Thief’ is the scanner, and reveals the clues, the game cannot be played without it. Most of the scanners are in working condition yet today and the game is still a lot of fun to play. It is a favorite crime game for many!
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