Cops Pose Before a $200,000 Mountain of Allegedly Stolen Lego Sets

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An Oregon man’s Lego business is in pieces after a holiday weekend raid by police in Eugene. According to the Springfield Police Department’s Facebook page, a three-month investigation into organized retail theft led them to a business called Brick Builders where it found more than 4,000 allegedly stolen, and often rare, Lego sets worth over $200,000.

Brick Builders was a third-party Lego store that sold sets and individual pieces to collectors. Lego sets command premium prices and have become popular enough that there are many independent stores operating across the United States.

Brick Builders first opened in 2017 and gained a reputation as a place to grab hard-to-find sets. According to the Springfield cops, some of that inventory was stolen from local stores like Target and Barnes & Noble.

Cops and LegosSpringfield Police Department Photo via its Facebook.

America is in a moral panic over shoplifting. In the past few years, retailers have self-reported that theft is up in their stores but the realities have been hard to quantify. Regardless of the real numbers, fears over shoplifting have caused cops to refocus on it. Which is what happened in Springfield, Oregon.

Bigger retail outlets have dedicated loss prevention professionals who monitor the store for theft and investigate crimes. They aren’t cops themselves, but often partner with them. According to the Springfield Police Department, the Brick Builders bust began after they partnered with loss prevention staff from Target, Fred Meyer, and Barnes & Noble. They noticed people were stealing a lot of Lego sets from those locations and followed them to Brick Builders where they’d allegedly unload the merchandise.

450353910 983580517131646 2435572831682604657 NSpringfield Police Department Photo via its Facebook.

According to the cops, the thieves would sell the large and expensive sets to employees at Brick Builders, often for a fraction of their retail value. “That store had every single thing you could ever want Legowise but you would pay premium prices. I only stumped them on two pieces when I would try to finish sets off. Any Lego fan could find a set they would drool over,” a commenter in the Lego subreddit said in response to the news. “BUT he was very difficult to deal with. I am a little surprised by this though. Not sure how he thought he wouldn’t get caught.”

The cops posted the haul on Facebook, posing in front of a mountain of Legos. The store’s owner and one employee were charged with Organized Retail Theft and Theft I, receiving stolen merchandise. Both charges recently had their maximum penalties and purview increased in Oregon, partly in response to fears over increased theft in the area.

The Organized Theft Charge alone carries a possible two-year prison sentence. “We all feel the impact of organized retail theft through the increasing cost of items we buy for our families,” the Springfield Police said in a statement on its Facebook page.

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