Lego thieves: a gang stopped in Paris!

Lego thieves: a gang stopped in Paris!

Lego thieves

How much can a collectible Lego set be worth? Certainly, at least in some cases, much more than you might imagine, so much so that someone might even take the trouble to… steal it from you!

According to the Guardian, the Parisian police have arrested three people of Polish nationality, guilty of having tried to steal, in June of last year, some particular sets, including the one dedicated to Paris (which instead can be purchased via this link). According to the authorities, attempts of this kind of theft have been on the rise in recent times and with a truly "professional" level of organization.

According to a report by Le Parisien, the protagonists of the aforementioned theft they would have been part of an organized gang. For the heist, they would be based in a hotel in the suburbs of Paris, and then land well-aimed shots against the toy shops in the city center.

In June 2020, however, the police managed to catch them with hands in the bag, while they were robbing a PicWicToys store. The series of hits, however, would not end only with this, in fact other hits between 2019 and 2020 would also be responsible for the points of sale of La Grande Récré and Maxi Toys. The objectives of the thefts were always the same: precious Lego sets to be resold in Poland.

The idea that plastic bricks are worth enough to entice an international circle of thieves to stealing them might seem strange to those who are not familiar with this world. The most expensive Lego set ever made, retails for just $ 800, but some particular sets can acquire a much greater value over time.

Investing in these collector's items is therefore nothing new, but this niche market has reached heights never before seen with the advent of the pandemic. Many collectors currently have more time to spend at home due to health restrictions, and because of this the market has exploded.

According to Gerben van IJken, Lego specialist and online auction house consultant, a set that it retails for € 150 in 2007, it was resold for € 2,500 in 2020, just to give an example. Quotes like this are obviously tempting on the black market. Should we therefore prepare to keep our finest sets in a safe?

Gang of international Lego thieves arrested in Paris heist

a close up of a sign © johannes eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Toy shops in France have been targeted by a gang of international Lego thieves who attempted to steal valuable collectible sets, police allege.

Officers took three people into custody — two men and a woman — who had traveled from Poland to Yvelines, a town outside Paris, where they were allegedly caught raiding a shop.

Read: Lego sales surge in the pandemic as more children stay home

While millions of children have grown up playing with the plastic bricks that start selling for around $10, rare series such as “Lego Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon” have reached $15,000, while a “Taj Mahal” first edition had a value of around $3,864.

An officer quoted in Le Parisien newspaper confirmed the arrests, saying: “They come to France, set up in a hotel in the Paris region, then set about raiding toy stores before returning to Poland to sell off their haul.

“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children. There are numerous adults who play with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Lego stolen.”

Read: Lego is launching Braille bricks in 20 countries

Lego has long been considered a valuable asset by thieves because it is small, light and portable. In 2014 police in Arizona retrieved stolen Lego worth $145,000 and arrested four people. A year later five people were arrested with a $11,000 Lego haul.

In Australia professional thieves targeted toy shops in Victoria and New South Wales, taking $22,000 in 2014.

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