Kristen’s Tale (or Why You Should Never F*** With a Doll Collector)

Five years ago I bought a gorgeous repaint off eBay. She was a fresh-faced young woman who had begun life as Tonner’s Cinderella. Her artist sprinkled freckles across her face and chest, gave her nose and eyebrow rings, and painted an understated rose tattoo above her right breast. Her crowning glory was a fabulous head of variegated brown dreadlocks, which hung past her shoulders and down her back. Yes, she had the stereotypical hipster vibe, but she preserved the look of a young innocent and hesitant adventurer. I fell in love with her at first sight, checked my dolly budget, and eagerly clicked the “buy” button.

Her artist, the talent behind “Bordello Dolls,” promptly shipped the doll—christened “Kristen”—and sent me her tracking information. A few days later, I received a USPS notice on my front door advising me that Kristen’s delivery had been attempted. I work out of the house full-time, so I signed the slip, asking the postman to leave the doll at my door. I waited three days for Kristen’s redelivery, but she did not arrive.

I contacted the post office, which swore the doll was delivered per my instructions. I then contacted the artist, who also contacted her post office, and she got the same reply. The front desk worker at my post office produced my signed slip and said they had done their job. The slip indicated that I authorized delivery without a signature, so they were not responsible for the doll once it was redelivered at my front door.

I had never had a package stolen before, and I live in a low-crime neighborhood. I feared I was out both the lovely Kristen and my $300, but the artist kindly offered to paint me another doll, which was more than nice of her, as she was not the one at fault. I knew, however, that there was only one Kristen.

It was the next day or so after my doll disappeared that I was casually browsing my typical haunts on eBay, and I saw Kristen again offered for sale. This time the seller was not Bordello Dolls, but one completely unknown to me. The auction was a carbon copy of the artist’s original one, complete with her photos and description.


Was this seller my thief? Or was it another rip-off artist trying to sell a doll he/she did not have, making this a very weird coincidence?

In my confusion, I sought advice from the established online Doll Authorities—my favorite doll community board (in my case, Prego).

The Pregoites immediately swung into action–as I knew they would–doing the background checks and homework that I didn’t have time to do with my hectic work schedule and small child. In no time, they had shut down the criminal’s eBay account (these were the days in which eBay was actually responsive to their customers’ needs). Other Pregoites researched the seller’s background and soon identified him as a well-known con artist in the doll world—although his “real” name was unknown.

By now, conversation about Kristen and her whereabouts dominated the board’s discussion on a daily basis. Theories were put forward, allegations were made, and the most die-hard sleuths remained committed to identifying the thief by name. The biggest mystery, of course, was how this random member of an online doll community manage to identify me as the buyer of this specific doll, get my address, stalk my postman, and then steal the doll from my front door. The unlikelihood of it all seemed to propel my amateur detective friends on in their quest to solve the mystery.

In the meantime, I contacted my local police station to report the theft and enlist their help. As I related my unlikely tale to officers whose job it is to track down stolen goods, I could sense their incredulity in the silence on the other end of the phone line. And when I told them the stolen item was a doll purchased off eBay for $300, I actually heard a chuckle. At which point I slammed down the phone and muttered obscenities about the uselessness of my local taxpayer-funded police force.

But the real detectives wouldn’t give up. Finally, one day I heard from a Pregoite who had not only identified the thief, but also had his street address.

He lived within a ten-minute drive of my house.

After more digging, it was discovered that this individual was a member of Prego himself. He apparently saw a previous post in which I announced my purchase of Kristen, located my address, stalked my postman, stole the doll, and then listed her on eBay.


Prego is an international board, but its membership is relatively small. The entire fashion doll community is small—estimated to be no more than several thousand. The fact that someone in my neighborhood was a Prego member, managed to identify a specific doll I had purchased off eBay, tracked down my address, found out exactly when that doll was being delivered, and then stole that doll from me to repost it on eBay strained belief. A few people even hinted that I had staged the whole thing. I almost couldn’t blame them.

With a physical address, Prego really sprang into action. They had a name and an address, and they did everything in their power to shame this person into returning the doll. They also knew his personal email address and they knew that he was on Prego, so they peppered him with threats if he did not return the stolen merchandise. They threatened everything from legal action to a good house egging. I could not help but to sit back and enjoy this rallying to Kristen’s defense.

And now comes the most unbelievable chapter of this unlikely tale of dolly theft. One evening in the midst of this drama I couldn’t sleep and went downstairs into my kitchen to get a glass of milk. It was probably around midnight. I was startled by some scuffling close to my house, and I peered out the kitchen window. I saw nothing. I attributed the noise to some random animal and went back to bed.

The next morning, when I opened my front door to go to work, I tripped over a Tonner-sized box. Kristen had come home.

KristenNews of the doll’s return brought much joy to the Prego community. My dolly friends had accomplished what the post office and police refused to—and they did it with far fewer resources. I learned that day to never, ever fuck with the doll community or one of its own. They will take you down.

Hell hath no fury like a doll collector scorned.

14 thoughts on “Kristen’s Tale (or Why You Should Never F*** With a Doll Collector)

  1. Good story! Especially because it has a happy ending. And, well, because I read some of it to Gordie who said doll collectors don’t swear. Hahahaha….
    Beautiful doll!!


  2. Wow, that was one dumb thief! I mean really, go to all that trouble to steal your doll and then list it on Ebay that soon so everyone could know just who had stolen it? Seems they’re not only a person lacking morals but good sense also. I’m so glad you got your pretty doll returned to you. It truly warms the heart to hear that fellow collectors would go the extra mile for you like that. It gives you an interesting story that you’ll have attached to that doll now too.
    By the way, I don’t know why but when I go to your home page it still comes up the post of When a Doll Collector Moves. I thought you hadn’t updated your blog since May 29th because the move was still taking up all your time with settling in and unpacking, or something like that. Then I happened to see under recent posts along the right side of the page had new postings. Just thought I’d let you know if it was a glitch or something.


  3. What an brilliant story! I love that the community rallied around like that – and how brilliant to see that the doll made it home in the end. Epic stuff!


  4. What a brilliant story! And a gorgeous doll. I had something happen to me here in Spain, a lovely BJD had been sent to me by a friend in the US, of course she sent her as a ‘gift’ with low value to spare me the awful customs fees….therefore low insurance. On the day she was shown on the tracking as being ‘in the delivery system’ she went missing between my post office, which is approx 1 mile away, and my front door. The first I knew of it was the post man standing on my doorstep literally shaking like a leaf, trying to explain to me that someone had taken the EMS box from his unlocked motorcycle box, he was really upset as he knew he’d be in big trouble with his boss for leaving the box unattended and unlocked.
    In the end, to cut a long story short, the postal workers clubbed together and gave me back the exact ammount that I’d paid for the doll, all they asked for was to see how much I’d paid, they weren’t concerned that it was insured for less!!!
    So a happy ending, but I always go and collect my parcels now if I know that they’re due for delivery that particular day!


  5. I have never heard of Prego before, but how cool that they investigated and facilitated you getting your doll back with their tenacity. It is one beautiful doll and I am so happy she found her way home. Once you found out who the thief was, did you give his name to the police? I am not sure it would have done you any good, but I am curious.


  6. I have to laugh, and admit your are completely correct about us doll collectors. I remember when my bestie commissioned repaints from a then famous repainter, and after several months of no response, he told me his tale of woo. He sent me her name and address and I got into the car an hour and half and headed over to her house to pick up his merchandise to her surprise! Prego folks take care of their own!


  7. I have just joined back onto the prego community board and am enjoying it and never heard this story but it warms the heart. What really floors me is that someone would do this- it is so simply awful!!I am so glad the worm returned her!


  8. I loved the story! I’m a Tonner doll collector and I buy internationally. I’m always so anxious when there is a doll on the post office coming to me. What if she is stolen? I always pay insurance, but some dolls are unique!


  9. Wow! I missed the whole Kristen drama on Prego so I totally appreciate your recounting it here. Your description and writing brought it to life; the plot and story is better than some novels I’ve read! So glad it had a happy ending.


  10. What a great story! I loved it and gave me quite a chuckle about the Prego-ite detectives. Thanks for sharing. Marsha


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