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CHP bust uncovers $300K in stolen Legos

The suspects hit stores in search of limited-edition box sets of the toys, part of a trend of “Lego larceny”

By Jack Dolan
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Four middle-aged suspects were arrested in Southern California this week when police found them in possession of roughly $300,000 worth of purloined Lego sets, authorities said.

Yes, Lego sets. The little toy bricks that hurt like hell when you step on them barefoot. Apparently, some people like having them around so much they’re willing to pay an astonishing price for the privilege.

The suspects, who range in age from 35 to 47, hit stores including Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s in search of limited-edition box sets of the toys, police said. Then they allegedly scattered their loot in four separate stash houses across Los Angeles and Orange counties where California Highway Patrol officers served search warrants on Tuesday.

Incredibly, this is not an isolated incident. Similar thefts have been reported in Philadelphia and Green Bay, Wisconsin. A store in Las Vegas that opened in 2022 and specializes in Lego sets had been hit at least four times by the end of 2023 in what Inside Edition dubbed a national wave of “Lego Larceny.”

As unbelievable as it may seem, rare and exceptionally popular Lego sets trade online like precious metal or cryptocurrency.

Kits that turn into “Star Wars” spaceships, for example, routinely sell for north of a thousand dollars. A set that turns into Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon fluctuates between $1,000 and $4,000, according to the website Work + Money.

There is no shortage of online reports on Lego thievery — with robbers smashing through glass storefront doors and stomping around toy shops in masks and dark hoodies. One vertically challenged bandit can be seen on security video hopping up and down, desperate to reach the most valuable Lego boxes stored on the top shelf — like fine Scotch.

The four arrested in Southern California this week were booked on charges related to organized retail theft, grand theft and conspiracy.

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