In addition to being tremendously fun, LEGO playsets can be a valuable and highly sought-after collectible commodity. The 7541-piece LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon, for example, can fetch more than $3700 on the secondary market, while the 4-foot-tall Eiffel Tower can net close to $3000.
Unfortunately, that’s not France’s sole connection with the LEGO brand. The country’s police are investigating a massive LEGO theft ring that may involve international brick burglars.
According to The Guardian, three suspects arrested last June in Yvelines, France for stealing LEGO sets disclosed that they were part of a widespread LEGO conspiracy. Hailing from Poland, the thieves admitted that a series of LEGO heists were planned and targeted for sets that were popular among collectors. The thieves purportedly arrive in France, shoplift from area toy stores, and return to Poland with their haul. They may have been visiting France as early as November 2019 to enact their easy-to-assemble crime.
LEGO experts say the pandemic has driven prices up across a range of collectibles, and LEGO is no exception. For thieves, the sets are attractive because they’re difficult to trace and easy to sell on a “black market” of internet sites.
LEGO-related crimes are on the rise elsewhere. A man in Tigard, Oregon, was arrested in March for stealing more than $7500 in LEGO sets from a storage facility. In 2018, another Oregon man—this one in Portland—was arrested after purchasing $13,000 in stolen LEGO sets from undercover police. A search of his home revealed more than $50,000 in stolen sets, which he obtained from a network of thieves.
[h/t The Guardian]