The latest crime wave impacting France is none other than a gang of Lego thieves. French police say they’re on the tail of an international group that specialises in stealing rare Lego sets.
Lego thieves strike France
Officers arrested three people last year who were caught stealing Lego boxes from a toy shop outside of Paris. According to The Guardian, the suspects reportedly told the police officers they were part of a team that steals specific brick sets that are highly sought after by Lego collectors.
An article in the Le Parisien newspaper reports that members of the group were arrested in France in November 2019, again in February 2020 and once more in this recent incident in June 2020.
Investigators told the paper that the gang sets up in hotels in Paris and then raids local toy stores before returning to Poland to sell their stolen wares.
Officers stressed that Lego has become much larger than just a children’s toy and that there are lucrative swaps and sales all over the internet. They even said they’d had reports of homes being broken into and Lego sets stolen.
Lego specialist Gerben van Ijken told The Guardian:
“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.”
Van Ijken added that part of the reason Lego sets are so desirable is that the company is known to remove its collections from sale, which results in a collectors’ market.
“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 said.
Police have apparently warned specialist Lego shops sets to be aware of the rise in thefts as they try to crack down on the crime spree.
Grand theft Lego
This string of incidents in France isn’t the first instance of Lego thievery.
In 2019, 9News reported the bust of a shoplifting ring in Sydney who had reportedly stolen $10,000 worth of Lego sets. Also in 2019, a gang of thieves rammed a van into a warehouse and proceeded to steal nearly $7,500 worth of Lego.
With some Lego sets costing over $1000 nowadays, it’s easy to see why Lego crime is on the rise.