French police build a case against an international gang of LEGO thieves targeting highly prized sets selling for thousands of pounds
- Police construction case against international gang of toy thieves who target Lego
- Three people from Polan were arrested in June 2020 while trying to steal sets
- The French police have now warned specialty stores and parents to remain vigilant
French police say they have started a case against an international gang of thieves targeting toys after three people are arrested while stealing Lego.
A woman and two men, who were stealing boxes of Lego from a shop in Yvelines, near Paris, were arrested in June 2020.
The three people, all from Poland, reportedly admitted to being part of a specialized international Lego thief gang.
Now, police in France are warning shops and parents to be on the lookout, with some Lego sets highly sought after by collectors.
French police say they have started a case against an international gang of thieves targeting toys after three people are arrested while stealing Lego (stock image)
I spoke to the French newspaper The Parisian, said a researcher investigating the international gang of thieves: ‘The Lego community is not just made up of children.
‘There are countless adults playing with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining that their home has been burgled and Lego has been stolen. ‘
The investigator said the trio was initially reported to the police in November 2019 and again in February 2020 before finally being arrested.
The investigator explained how the three thieves went about their business and said they would book a hotel in Paris and then raid toy stores in the city before returning to Poland to sell the Lego sets.
A woman and two men, who were stealing boxes of Lego from a shop in Yvelines, near Paris, were arrested in June 2020, prompting French police to warn specialty stores to be careful (stock image)
The trio arrested in Paris isn’t the only case where Lego has been targeted by thieves.
Shops in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia, fell victim to thieves targeting Lego sets and ran off with nearly £ 17,000 of the bricks.
Also in 2014, four people were arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on suspicion of stealing Lego from a toy store.
Similar incidents were also recorded in 2017, when 2,000 sets for children’s hospitals and charities in the UK were taken and in 2018 when a 20-year-old Lego enthusiast’s home was targeted and most of his 14-year-old collection was taken. .
A Lego specialist who advises online auctions on collectibles, Gerben van Ijken, said Lego sales on France’s eBay have doubled.
The investigator said the trio – two men and a woman – were initially reported to the police in November 2019 and again in February 2020 before they were eventually arrested.
He told The Guardian: ‘Investing in these pieces is not new, but this niche market has reached new heights with the pandemic.
‘People have more time at home due to health restrictions and the game market has exploded.’
Another reason for the explosion in Lego sales is that people have discovered the tremendous resale value of sets online over the past eight years, van Ijken said.
One example he cited was a set that originally cost $ 150 in 2007, but was recently resold online for $ 2,500.
Last December, a California thief who allegedly tried to get away with $ 1,000 worth of Lego sets was picked up by undercover agents dressed as Santa and elf.
Riverside police said the officers were running an enforcement program called ‘Santa’s Intervention’.
Santa’s intervention program was implemented in response to the dramatic increase in shoplifting during the Christmas shopping season and was a proactive approach to such crimes, police said.