An addiction to Lego bricks can make a person do crazy things. For me, it means spending a lot of money on boxed sets. For Thomas Langenbach, an executive at Systems, Applications and Products (SAP), it means scamming Target stores by swapping barcodes on Lego boxes, buying them at a huge discount, and reselling them on eBay.
The bizarre theft was figured out by Target security. He raised a red flag when he was noticed buying Lego sets at reduced prices at a couple of area Targets in April. Flyers were issued to Target security with a photo of Langenbach. He was busted on May 8 when a security guard recognized him and put him under surveillance.
According to police, Langenbach not only placed his own bar codes on several items, he checked them on the store’s aisle scanners to make sure he was getting the low, low price. He put stickers on three boxes but put two of them back on the shelves. When he walked out with one set he didn’t pay full price for, store security nabbed him and called the cops.
The obvious motivation is money. Lego sets aren’t exactly cheap, and they can go for impressive amounts (compared to the retail price) on eBay once they’re no longer being produced. However, the dude owns a home worth $2 million. He also owned “many, many” Lego sets he completed himself.
He may have earned $30,000 selling the items via online auctions in a year, but it’s not like he needed it. Clearly, Langenbach has an obsession with Lego, but as far as the crime is concerned—maybe it was about the thrill of getting away with it? Maybe he was bored? Whatever the reason, Lego bricks aren’t worth the trip to jail.