Thieves in China have stolen 40 boxes of RTX 3090 graphics cards from the warehouse where they’re manufactured. If you’re out of the loop, the RTX 3090 is currently the hottest graphics card on the market for PC gamers and it’s incredibly difficult to purchase. The boxes the thieves stole contained over $300,000 worth of computer hardware. The theft perplexed Chinese authorities Tuesday morning, as the facility they were stolen from has very tight security.
This has led the authorities to suspect that the theft may have been an inside job perpetrated by people within the company. The reasoning for why someone would want these graphics cards is simple: They’re selling online for upwards of $2,000 apiece. Frustrated gamers looking to source these high-end cards are opting to spend significantly more money than the retail price of $1,500.
This kind of theft is highly unusual in warehouses that manufacture high-end electronics. Companies take pains to ensure their products are under tight security, including closely monitoring all vehicles that come and go, and keeping products under video surveillance at all times. However, recent events might have made some workers at the facility desperate enough to make off with the RTX 3090 graphics cards.
A combination of factors has made these cards incredibly difficult to purchase online. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many people home, driving demand for video games higher than usual. This demand has led to many people deciding to buy out gaming equipment for the purposes of turning around and selling it on secondhand sites for a profit. This process is disparagingly known as “scalping” by those in the industry.
To this end, many scalpers create automated scripts, or “bots,” that can scour the internet to purchase listings immediately. This creates huge shortages of the products and drives demand up.
It’s possible that someone working in the factory was able to convince coworkers to help them make off with the graphics cards in order to sell them online and make a tidy profit. Such a plan would be risky; the number of cards that were stolen would be difficult to hide and even more difficult to unload without drawing suspicion.
Authorities are offering $15,000 to anyone with information about the theft. In the meantime, many gamers are frustrated that this means there are 40 fewer boxes of the highly-coveted card out of play for online orders.