Just days before Christmas, RCMP officers in Richmond, BC have nabbed members of the notorious “Lego Gang”.
With help from loss prevention officers, sixteen shoplifters were swept up by the Mounties in Richmond BC. Some of those arrested were stealing everyday items including clothing and beauty products, while others were after multi-coloured plastic bricks. Members of a criminal organization known as the “Lego Gang” were apprehended as well, the Lego Gang specializes in co-operatively stealing and reselling Legos, sometimes even for order.
“[The officers] work in several different outlets across the Lower Mainland so some of the people may have been on their radar from different locations and they were able to identify them when they came to Richmond,” said Corporal Dennis Hwang in a press release.
Stealing Lego products is an extremely popular crime and has a well established black market due to the high retail prices of Lego sets and an extremely high demand from consumers. Simple supply and demand, and sometimes not even for a lesser price.
“There’s a ‘black’ or secondary market for everything, especially things of value,” Portland Police Sergeant Peter Simpson told Vice recently. “Legos are a hot item due to their popularity and relative cost from retail markets. Virtually untraceable––no serial numbers––and easily sold.”
On March 3, police in Portland, Oregon set up an undercover operation to bust a well-known thief in the area who had been in trouble with the law many times before for theft and other related charges. Their target, Pavel Kuzik, was brought to the attention of law enforcement after stealing and reselling Legos online, he even showed up to meet undercover officers in a stolen vehicle.
Some Lego thefts rival the organization of bank robberies, complete with getaway drivers and lookouts. Five people were arrested in San Diego, California for the theft of over $15,000 worth of toys which mainly consisted of Legos. $200,000 worth of Lego were stolen in 2014 in Phoenix Arizona, $59,000 from a storage unit by a single female in Long Island, and in BC in December of 2015 a toy store had their front door smashed by a masked intruder for a single set of Lego’s.
Some individual Lego sets can be priced for thousands of dollars. In fact, some even claim that Lego can be a better investment than shares or gold. If your Lego sets are kept in the box and in pristine condition, they can see an average of 12% yearly increase in value. Some newer sets are even reselling for over 30% of their retail price on sites such as eBay. But the second you damage/open the Lego original box, the value can drop to next to nothing.
This holiday season be careful who you buy your Lego from, if a deal looks too good to be true there’s probably a reason for it. Robbing a Lego factory may just be more profitable than trying to rob a bank.