Toy stores in Australia have been hit by a series of high-dollar Lego heists, and a police detective thinks the thefts might be the work of a crime syndicate specifically targeting the toys.
During the past two weekends, thieves hit the same Toyworld in Victoria state. In the first heist, according to the Herald Sun, they removed a glass panel from a sliding door, entered the shop and stole more than $9,000 worth of Legos. They also swiped the hard drive from the store's CCTV.
A week later, another batch of Legos worth more than $4,500 was taken. The shop hadn't yet had the chance to replace the CCTV hard drive, reports Radio Australia.
The store's owner told Australia's 3AW radio station that he's far from the only victim. "It has been a spate of robberies through the smaller toyshops over the last six months or so. And they're only targeting Lego[s]," he said.
Australian newspaper The Age looked at other Lego thefts since October 2013 and found more than $18,000 in additional missing Legos — not counting property damage.
An Australian police detective believes that at least some of those thefts — including the Toyworld incidents — are carefully coordinated. "It sounds like an organized syndicate that is possibly targeting Lego, based on the type of attack that's occurred and the manner in which they removed the glass," Detective Senior Constable Ian Porter told 3AW.
Previous high-profile Lego heists include two thefts from trucks in the UK, where £57,000 ($86,870 at the time) and £40,000 ($66,630) worth of Legos were stolen, and the 2012 case of a Silicon Valley executive who stole $30,000 worth of Legos from Target stores.
None of those thefts appeared to involve a Lego-specific crime syndicate.