Crime and Courts

Oregon police recover over $200,000 worth of Lego sets in massive bust

Police recovered 4,153 Lego sets after they served a search warrant at a storefront in Eugene

Seized lego sets.
Springfield, Ore., Police Department

Police recovered more than $200,000 worth of stolen Lego sets in a bust of a massive theft ring of the popular toy, officials said.

A three-month investigation revealed that the owner of a store in Eugene, Oregon — Brick Builders on Willamette Street — was "knowingly" buying new, unopened Lego sets that had been stolen from other, nearby stores, Springfield police said Tuesday on Facebook.

The thieves, police said, stole hundreds of dollars’ worth of Lego sets from local retailers and then took them to Brick Builders in exchange for cash.

Officers served a search warrant at Brick Builders on July 3 and recovered 4,153 Lego sets, police said. The total value of the sets was more than $200,000.

Police said the thieves usually got paid only "a fraction" of the Lego sets' retail value, alleging many of them used the money to buy drugs.

Suspects told police in interviews that the staff at Brick Builders knew the Lego sets had been stolen recently, according to the police department's Facebook post.

Reached by phone Wednesday night, the owner of Brick Builders referred NBC News to his attorney. A message left with the attorney's firm was not immediately returned.

The police department said it worked with loss prevention investigators from Target, Fred Meyer, Barnes & Noble and Walmart to confirm that the owner of Brick Builders was buying Lego sets that had been stolen from their stores.

Police said suspects were charged with organized retail theft and theft by receiving.

"We all feel the impact of organized retail theft through the increasing cost of items we buy for our families," Police Chief Andrew Shearer said. "Recognizing this, SPD’s Crime Reduction Unit, with the support of our retail partners, works diligently to hold accountable those who make the choice to engage in or support retail theft."

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