In the mainstream media it's not entirely uncommon to hear tales of virtual theft cast in a mocking or sometimes even light-hearted tone. Given the right set of details, we're sometimes guilty of it ourselves. In any case, when you actually read a first-hand account of such an experience, you quickly see how devastating a personal blow it can be to a person. A recent article in The Escapist explores one such experience, going into the depths with one unfortunate Paladin who had her Final Fantasy XI account hacked.
Much the same way that a real life burglar can rob somebody of their sense of safety, virtual thieves rob players of the joy and security they get from building up a character in a virtual world. The Paladin followed in the article lost her will to play altogether, which we think is an even sadder outcome than losing her highly-valued account.