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LEGO scam arrest

rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
edited May 2012 in Everything else LEGO
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/VP-of-Palo-Altos-SAP-Arrested-in-Lego-Scam-152320475.html?dr

Proprietor of Tom's Brickyard -- eBay and bricklink seller -- arrested for engaging in LEGO scam/theft.
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Comments

  • legoDadlegoDad Member Posts: 529
    Ah well. Greedy and got burned.
    Weird that a guy who's very savvy about tech, didn't fear the prices could be tracked and that there are security cams.
  • muffenmanmuffenman Member Posts: 75
    Wow When I saw that name it Jumped out at me He was in Fav Must have had something I was looking at a while back buy a lot of small sets and mini Figs from ths states.... $30,000 of Lego theft and lives in million dollar house!!!
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    When police searched his home, however, Hendrickson said they found "hundreds and  hundreds" of LEGO boxes inside.
    Eek! Hope they don't come to my house.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Read the comments on that story...

    There are multiple comments from people saying "$279 for Lego, that is insane", and the like...

    Amazing how many people outside our AFOL community think the expensive sets are just nuts... My Mother, bless her heart, about fell down when she heard what Olivia's House cost... she guessed $25, when she heard $70 she thought that was just nuts.

    When she saw Death Star, she just stared at me like I was an alien when I told her the price.

    Non-AFOLs just don't get it.
  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,329
    Scum like that guy are the reason Lego costs so much.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    ^ It's that way for anything other people are not into. I don't drink and have no issue with people that do but it amazes me the people I know that have that as their primary "hobby" and easily spend $100-200 a weekend drinking at clubs. They're always amazed at what I pay for LEGO when at least at the end of the day I could almost always make most of my money back at some point and theirs is being pissed away.

  • tk79tk79 Member Posts: 329
    "This seller is currently away until May 26, 2012, and is not processing orders at this time. You can add this item to your watch list to purchase later. "

    lol, I think that date might be wishful thinking on ol' Tom's part...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Not really, he made bail already, so he is out and free... minus his stash of Lego sets... :)
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 417
    Read the comments on that story...

    There are multiple comments from people saying "$279 for Lego, that is insane", and the like...

    Amazing how many people outside our AFOL community think the expensive sets are just nuts... My Mother, bless her heart, about fell down when she heard what Olivia's House cost... she guessed $25, when she heard $70 she thought that was just nuts.

    When she saw Death Star, she just stared at me like I was an alien when I told her the price.

    Non-AFOLs just don't get it.
    Of course they don't, which is completely normal. AFOLs justify the prices because they are obsessed with it. Either way it's still just pieces of plastic in the end. I personally still think Lego is overpriced even though I buy them at discount. When comparing per dollars of Lego I get to my other hobbies, my jaws still drop.

  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 601
    edited May 2012
    I for one can't believe you guys aren't pouncing on the mention of a "$279 Millennium Falcon". I know the one that came out last year was expensive, but not by that much!
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Gotta keep an eye on those IT guys...


  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    Aww, that used to be my neighborhood Target that he was stealing from. No wonder they never had any good sales on LEGO sets.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,918
    ^ lol
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    I for one can't believe you guys aren't pouncing on the mention of a "$279 Millennium Falcon". I know the one that came out last year was expensive, but not by that much!
    Clearly the fact-checking in this story was quite off. but it only matters to people like us, so they don't care.

  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    California prices? Stuff is more expensive there. Example: a million dollar home there is only 250,000 anywhere else. Gasoline is way more too.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited May 2012
    I just don't get it. Why would this guy risk so much (current and future employment, house, whatever else goes along with being arrested) for comparatively little? It sounds like he was pretty well off. It just doesn't seem worth the risk, no matter how remote the perceived risk of getting caught. Not to mention it's obviously unethical/illegal.

    Maybe he thought he was smarter than everyone else and just did it for fun. Who knows. Funny thing is, he could have done things legitimately (like many here) and still made money selling EOL sets. Less money, but money nonetheless. Weird.

    Interesting story, thanks OP!
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,117
    Greedy sod! His actions would arouse suspicions here in the UK immediately - we never get discounts like that on SW Lego! The cost of a hobby is all relative, someone buying a single golf club for £200 or an off-road mountain bike for £1800 seems nuts to me. There aren't many hobbies where you can buy your stuff, keep hold of the box and expect to get at least back what you paid for it if you decide to sell later.
  • MinifiguresPlusMinifiguresPlus Member Posts: 201
    Whew... I was thinking Toms Brickstore, and about freaked out there! That's a good store!
  • dehnehsudehnehsu Bay Area, Calif.Member Posts: 198
    If he did this at Toys R Us, even with 80% off barcodes they would still be at retail!

    I once discovered a stuck on Barcode at Walmart for the Prince of Persia Battle of Almut 7573. Curious, I scanned it and it wouldn't read the Barcode. I peeled off the fake Barcode and it came up $30 clearance. ($80 retail)
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    edited May 2012
    'tomsbrickyard' - he was a major player, ran into his auctions all the time. Look at his selling history - boy was he moving a lot of product. That's like a full time job's worth. Being a VP at SAP must not be very demanding.

    Wonder if he's on the forum, lol.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,010
    New idea for CMF - Lego geek with barcode. The parts code be reused from the computer programmer, with a 1x2 tile with a printed barcode on like the crash test dummy / traffic cop.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Wow!!! At least they caught someone. Im sure there are plenty of people doing the same thing at Walmart. Heck, people are stealing loads of Tide detergent to trade for drugs on streets.
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,603
    ^ LoL.
    Maybe it should be part of a small police set, with the burglar Tom being arrested with his stash of lego boxes.. a series of 1x1, 1x2, 2x2 printed flat tiles.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    This made me a little sad. I see how folks (myself included) find great deals in forums like Brickset. Some of those deals are really mistakes from big retailers, such as TRU doubling up on discounts online for a few hours before they catch it.

    We know they didn't MEAN for the double discount to be there, but many of us use the discounts because they are offering it. We can't pass it up. So I know the good feeling of getting a deal on LEGO, which is such a great hobby and community.

    But when you see someone cross that line as this person did, it's just a little sad. He took it a step too far, and he (and his family) will pay for it in a pretty profound way.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    I wonder if you can use Tide detergent to make ABS
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    He took it a step too far, and he (and his family) will pay for it in a pretty profound way.
    This isn't a step further on the same path as benefiting from loopholes and glitches that you mention. This is a completely different path called fraud.

  • brclark82brclark82 Member Posts: 217
    Name was immediately familiar to me too. Checked orders on bricklink and I've placed 3 orders with him in just the last 2 months, all just for loose pieces no complete sets.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    edited May 2012
    Are the Target employees just unsure of the real cost of the sets? A $60 set looking like a $20 set? I think it would be pretty obvious somethings wrong.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,918
    Sometimes the employees don't pay attention. They just scan, take your money and you leave. But what if the item is on clearance or something? You just never know.
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 519
    This arrest makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    Bye bye scammer.
  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    @The_Brick_Builder - Most Target/Walmart cashiers are just uneducated about the cost of LEGO sets. I bought some sets at the after Christmas Walmart clearance and the cashier scanned them and remarked that they're really expensive toys. She was really shocked when I told her that those prices are already 50% off the regular price.
  • legoDadlegoDad Member Posts: 529
    ^Yep...they don't know all the merch. They just scan go. With a long line, what cashier's gonna' doubt the barcode unless is something they themselves purchase regulary. Gotta' keep the line moving yo.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFW/BGMember Posts: 7,120
    I used to stock at Target, half the stock team put the Lego boxes on the shelf backwards. Not sure if they really didn't know which side was which or if they just didn't care. Probably a bit of both. That said, there is way too much merchandise in a store like that for the employees to be aware of the exact pricing for everything if the scanner says 'Lego Blah Blah $XX.XX most cashiers won't think twice about it.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    yeah, it would have to be a cashier who also happens to be into the hobby. you can bet if any of us were working the checkout line, we would spot something like that right away.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Yah, the clearks have a lot of other stuff to worry about. Around here it's the occasional flash mob robberies at Target.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,287
    Now if they could just catch the scum that empty set boxes, and reseal them to return....
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    The thing is, this is just the tip of the iceberg with ebay as far as I'm concerned. For every one of these guys they catch, there's 100 others they haven't caught. If you're buying current, in-production sets on ebay, I think there's a large chance they were stolen in some manner.

    Other than offering worldwide shipping to regions willing to pay more for sets they don't have, it just makes no sense for the most part for an honest person to be selling these, even if they got them legitimately for 20% off. You'll make like a few bucks off the deal in the end, if that, if you're even able to get retail price. How is that even remotely worth the effort, unless you're moving hundreds/thousands of items?

    Yes, of course, there will be legitimate sellers who stocked up on the wal-mart clearance deals or other good deals for certain sets, and are off-loading those, but for the majority of current sets that have never been clearanced or discounted much, it's way too fishy if you ask me.

    For instance, Y-Wing 9495. This retails for $50 and is only sold at lego stores and TRU (for $60). That means it's never been discounted at all. Even with TRU's BOGO, it would be $45. I've never seen it for less. This set sells for around $45 on ebay. Who is selling these and why? Not one person could have possibly made money selling this for $45 on ebay, if bought legitimately. You'd be better off just returning it to the store for credit.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    ^ I agree completely. Obviously those people who have no conscience have figured out Lego is currently a hot market and have taken advantage of that fact. Like nkx1, I don't understand the mentality of a person who is a multi-millionaire jeopardizing all they have for the little bit of profit he made. I can only guess he must have gotten a thrill by thinking he was getting away with something others weren't smart enough to do. He'll probably get a slap on the hand from the legal system, but then again he could be charged with shipping stolen goods over state lines. Also if it's proven he made those fake bar code labels at his place of employment he could face even more charges. I don't think they are through charging him. I certainly hope not!

    And btw, he is not, and never has been, a member of the local Lgo club!
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,188
    His Bricklink store has been shut down...
    http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=Toms_Brickyard
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    ^^ Love the "STORE SUSPENDED" image.
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    Can we contact the arresting Police Department to find out when the stolen property auction is going to be? I'd love to see what was in his house. I wonder if they have confiscated all of his loose and MOC's in his house?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Very funny... :)

    First, they can't do anything with the Lego until after the trial, or after the final appeal is done.

    Second, if the items can be proven to be Target's, they should be returned to them, not auctioned.
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    edited May 2012
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    "placed three phony bar codes on items, bought one of the boxes, and placed the other two back on the store's shelf."

    Looks like he was smart enough at least to cover the store price checking it against other ones on the shelf. Still just wrong.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,188
    So that's why my set rang up low... just kidding i'm not in the Bay area.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    "placed three phony bar codes on items, bought one of the boxes, and placed the other two back on the store's shelf."

    Looks like he was smart enough at least to cover the store price checking it against other ones on the shelf. Still just wrong.
    Target uses those hand-held scanners, so it seems like any smart store policy would have them scanning the shelf tag, not another copy of the item. And it would be more difficult to change the shelf tag bar code.

    Makes me think some unsuspecting customers may have gotten some "steals" as well when they unknowingly buy the doctored items he left behind.

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    What is so insane about the whole thing is that you can't do it in large scale without getting caught sooner or later.

    One or two here and there, sure you'll get away with that, but you do enough of them and they notice.

    Yesterday I purchased about $1,600 worth of HP and PotC Lego from several local Walmart stores, used the self-checkout lanes as well. In two of the stores, a store employee came over and offered to "help". Both seemed like security to me, or at least management, it is possible they were looking for this exact scam.

    Since of course they were legit discounts and there were no stickers on the barcodes, everything was fine, but if I were them I'd be watching for it for awhile, news stories like this give people all kinds of ideas...
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ the other thing they might have been looking for, which has been known to occur when buying LEGO in large volumes like you were, is the case where the shopper "accidentally" doesn't scan a few of the items, or scans lesser expensive sets multiple times in place of some of the more expensive sets (keeping the total item count the same).
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