Four folks apparently really hard-up for some LEGOs have been arrested in Phoenix, Arizona after they were found to be in possession of $200,000 worth of the beloved construction sets that were acquired through nefarious means.
Some highlights of the story from AZFamily.com:
Police have arrested four people accused of running a scheme to steal expensive Lego sets from Toys R Us stores around the Valley. Garry Fairbee, 35, Tarah Dailey, 33, Melissa Dailey, 34 and Troy Koehler, 40 have been arrested. Melissa and Tarah are cousins.
They're each facing one or more of these charges: Organized retail theft, trafficking in stolen property, fraudulent schemes, and illegal control of an enterprise.
They are accused of removing the theft detection devices from the Lego sets, causing damage to the packaging. In most incidents, they put the Lego sets in either large gift bags and then in shopping carts, or inside shopping carts and then covered with the gift bags. The suspects would then flee the business without setting off the security alarm.
It is estimated that the recovered Legos have a retail value of around $200,000 of which at least $40,000 is believed to have been stolen. The rest of the Legos may have been purchased legitimately, or obtained fraudulently. Evidence from this investigation shows only $40,000 in stolen merchandise.
Here's the kicker though: they were just turning these LEGO sets around in an attempt to make a profit!
Police said Koehler was selling Lego sets on the Internet. He would also return them to Toys R Us stores for a refund.
What the shit, Koehler? You go through the trouble to steal nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars worth of LEGOs, and you don't even build them?! Clearly, these folks are not passionate fans of LEGOs, but just a bunch of common thieves trying to make a buck.
When I first came across this story, I hoped there would be photos of elaborate LEGO towns that they had built with the stolen merchandise and some story about how much they love the building bricks and just couldn't afford them. Alas, no such turn of events happened. They stole the sets, and tried to either sell them or return them. I am shaking my damn head at such a missed opportunity.
In all seriousness though, crime is bad and all that jazz. Even if these riff raff had stolen the sets to build them and enjoy them, I would argue a good LEGO fan would happily pay for the sets they want to help support the company make more awesomeness in the form of little plastic construction bricks. Can this be an expensive hobby? Sure. But . . . I actually have nothing to follow that up with. It's an expensive-ass hobby, but I enjoy the hell out of it.