Superman thief sentenced to six years in prison

The Illinois man who stole thousands of dollars worth of Superman memorabilia from a mentally disabled collector in late August has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that Gerry Armbruster, 38, pleaded guilty today to stealing the collection from Mike Meyer and assaulting and robbing an elderly man. Armbruster befriended Meyer, a 48-year-old man who lives on Social Security and works part-time at McDonald’s, before swindling him out of more than 1,800 Superman comics, figures and other memorabilia he’d been collecting since 1974.

News of the theft drew worldwide attention, with fans and creators from as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom rallying to replace Meyer's stolen items.

Police arrested Armbruster in mid-September while investigating the forcible robbery of money and jewelry from a 76-year-old man, and were able to recover Meyer's collection. The grateful fan, who lives with his dogs Krypto and Dyno, pledged to give the donated memorabilia to charity. “People were generous to me,” he said at the time. “This is how I can be generous in return.”

Armbruster's sentencing comes as Meyer is on vacation in Cleveland, birthplace of Superman, courtesy of Carol & John's Comic Book Shop. He and Keith Howard, who organized the effort to replace the stolen items, visited the former home of Jerry Siegel on Monday, and today toured area comic shops, where they received gift certificates. Their trip will conclude tonight with a party at Carol & John's.

"I feel like I'm connected with Siegel and Shuster," Meyer told the Plain Dealer from the living room of the Siegel house, "a piece of history was created here."

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