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International Gang Robbing LEGO in France


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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/french-police-on-trail-of-international-gang-of-lego-looters

French police say they are building a case against an international gang of toy thieves specialising in stealing Lego – and they have warned specialist shops and even parents to be aware of a global trade in the bricks.

The alert comes after officers arrested three people – a woman and two men – in the process of stealing boxes of Lego from a toy shop in Yvelines, outside Paris, last June. Under questioning, the suspects, all from Poland, reportedly admitted they were part of a team specialising in stealing Lego sought by collectors.

“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children,” one investigator told Le Parisien newspaper. “There are numerous adults who play with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Lego stolen.”

The arrested gang were first reported in France in November 2019, and again in February 2020. “They come to France, set up in a hotel in the Paris region, then set about raiding toy stores before returning to Poland to sell off their haul,” the officer said.

Gerben van IJken, a Lego specialist who advises the online auction platform for buying and selling collectibles, says sales on the French site doubled last year.

“Investing in these pieces isn’t new but this niche market has reached new heights with the pandemic. People have more time at home because of the health restrictions and the game market has exploded. We often have more than 1,000 Lego sales a week,” he said.

“There’s always been dealing in Lego because it’s a premium toy range and attracts many adults, but also because the company withdraw its collections around two years after they come out, so a secondhand market is inevitable.”

He added: “The phenomenon has exploded over the last eight years because people have realised they can make money reselling Lego on the internet.”

Van Ijken cited a Cafe Corner Lego set that cost €150 when it was released to shops in 2007 selling in its original box for €2,500 last year.

Lego looting appears to be a global business, according to reports in the US, Canada and Australia, where numerous thefts have been reported over the last five years. In 2005, San Diego police arrested a group of women found to have €200,000 worth of Lego.

 

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At the risk of stating the obvious (and possibly sounding sympathetic), it's not necessarily the value of the item that is taken, it is the ability to move it after taking it. 

Their buy-in is minimal (hotel room, gas, food), and they can move the product at cost with little to no hold time and still make money.  This past year LEGO has been moving faster than ever before and since LEGO still hasn't caught up for many sets some of what they took may be selling at a premium.

I read another article that said a warehouse was raided in Portland, OR 3/2021 for $7500 of LEGO.  Another warehouse owned by a charity in the UK was raided July 2020 only for the LEGO which was worth about $500,000.  Sickening really.

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my evil mind is thinking that if one was so inclined to break the law...there are definitely better ways

Off the top...I would try to work with insiders who work at LEGO to gain intel.  How to access "the list", how shipments are made and delivered. All this can be done "legally" so no laws broken...yet.

Once intel is gained...I would "hit" the delivery truck...way easier than robbing an actual store. Easy enough to cause a slow leak on a delivery truck tire...and make so to be the Tow truck that takes the job. Easy peasey...cost is a tow truck rental.

this is just off the top...I'm sure there are much more smarter and nefarious folks here

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