Alleged Lego syndicate tightens belts

Henry

The police in California in the USA made a major breakthrough in a Lego theft case when they came across 2,800 boxes of these prestigious and durable toy blocks at a house in Long Beach.

Lego sets seized by police include the Harry Potter and Stars Wars sets. The 71-year-old man at whose house the goods were found is believed to be part of a syndicate that regularly steals these popular toys.

Theft incidents have been investigated by Los Angeles detectives since December.

The case against the syndicate was built up in the past few months after the police saw one of the suspects, Bianca Gudino (39), allegedly stealing several boxes of Lego from a local toy store.

The investigation eventually led to the Long Beach home of Richard Siegel, where 2,800 boxes of Lego sets were found. Each box is estimated to be worth between $20 (R377) and $1 000 (R18 868).

“During police officers’ raid, prospective buyers arrived at the property,” Los Angeles police said.

“They were lured by advertisements that Siegel placed on online sales platforms.”

Siegel, meanwhile, has been charged with organized retail theft, while Gudino faces theft charges for the Lego she believes she stole as part of Siegel’s alleged syndicate.

RNews reported in April this year that Lego thugs were also tightening their belts in New Zealand. In this case, the police in Auckland caught two suspected thieves with blocks worth NS$20 000 (about R224 000).

The breakthrough followed after several shops were ordered over a number of months. The thieves also devised a specific way to capture sets of the blocks by setting off the fire alarm of a targeted store each time to distract attention.

The alleged thieves, a 45-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man, are now facing 30 charges of shoplifting, as well as charges in terms of the Fire and Emergency Act because they used the fire alarms as part of their prank.