Those Tiny Lego Bricks Mean Big Bucks for Thieves

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An employee of Danish firm Lego models
Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images
Everything is not awesome in Legoland.

Thieves around the country are capitalizing on the popularity of the plastic toy sets, whose enduring success was accelerated by the success of "The Lego Movie" this year.

Police in Arizona last week reported making arrests connected to an alleged Lego theft ring. Police said they discovered $200,000 worth of Lego sets in the home of suspect Troy Koehler, 40, as well as in storage units he had rented. "His garage was filled from floor to ceiling, front to back," Phoenix police officer James Holmes said at a news conference.

Other grown-ups charged in the Arizona Lego thefts allegedly were responsible for walking out of Toys R Us stores in the Phoenix area with $40,000 in Lego sets. Police said they would remove theft-deterrent devices and then either hide the sets under other merchandise or in gift bags. Their alleged thievery was captured on store surveillance video, police said.

Police said Koehler had the equivalent of three truckloads of Lego sets after buying them from the theft ring for about one-quarter of their actual prices. He was selling sets online for up to $500 apiece.

Sets Stolen on Long Island, Australia

In New York last week, a 53-year-old woman was charged with stealing about 800 Lego sets worth nearly $60,000 from a storage facility on Long Island. Nassau County Police said Gloria Haas tried to sell the Lego sets on eBay (EBAY). Most of them were recovered.

Lego thievery isn't a U.S.-only problem. Australian authorities this spring were investigating multiple Lego thefts involving more than $30,000 worth of the toys.

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Those Tiny Lego Bricks Mean Big Bucks for Thieves
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