The French police are investigating an international Lego crime ring

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It sounds like something out of a children’s movie – after French police arrested three Polish thieves in June 2020 who tried to steal toys, especially Lego sets. Now authorities are trying to address a growing trend of Lego robberies by warning entrepreneurs and parents, The Guardian reports

According to a report The Parisianthe thieves were part of a gang that stayed in hotels near Paris, drove around in an Audi and “looted” toy shops in search of valuable Lego sets to resell in Poland. The thieves were caught robbing a PicWicToys toy store after being spotted in two separate European toy stores, La Grande Récré and Maxi Toys, in 2019 and 2020. French police are reportedly building a case against the gang in response, The Guardian writes.

The idea that plastic Lego bricks are worth enough to entice an international circle of thieves to steal them may seem odd – the most expensive Lego set ever made at retail for just $ 800 – but some sets can last over the course of are worth the time. In addition, Gerben van IJken, a Lego specialist who advises online collectible auction sites, explains. The Guardian that interest in reselling Lego has grown enormously in the past 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 due to health restrictions and the game market has exploded.

Van IJken cites a Lego set that sold in stores in 2007 for € 150 (about $ 212) and was resold for € 2,500 (about $ 2,943) in 2020. van Ijken says. Keep older sets “in the safe” (reminiscent of Disney’s Home Video Strategy) makes those still on the market or owned by the owner much rarer and more valuable.

Lego theft isn’t limited to France. A man reportedly sneaked around for two million dollars worth of Lego sets in Florida in 2012. Given the risk, if you have a collectible Lego space shuttle along the way, it might be time to think about safety.