Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

LEGO scam arrest

2

Comments

  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,457
    ^ 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).
    So true. Especially in those self-checkout lanes. Usually they have a moderator around to make sure the above doesn't happen, but really how effective is that when they don't know anything about the product?

  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    In one of the news stories I read, it said he told the cops/security that he had watched a youtube video on bar code switching and was just playing around doing, and didn't mean to actually buy the sets for the discount (lololol!) Anyway, so I went searching for the videos and whatnot to see what he may have been talking about (if anything).

    What I found was incredibly disheartening. There are tons of sites and forums out there solely devoted to shoplifting and stealing, and the best techniques and stuff to steal. Tons of people talking about what they're stealing and how. Lego is one one of the top things these dirtbags focus on, due to its popularity and being able to easily sell it on ebay for retail prices. It's just soul crushing.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,404
    ^ I'm all for free speech, but should it be allowed to so openly talk about how to break the law?

    Perhaps the FBI should simply join those forums, find the people on them, and get warrants based on their posts there to search their property?

    If I was posting on such forums, should I really be surprised if the police/FBI show up? That is just stupid.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    I dunno, it's nuts. I felt dirty just reading the stuff. They tend to talk in hypotheticals, and 'my friend does this...' If I were the head of these retailers getting ripped off, I would certainly have my people scouring these things trying to stay one step ahead of these people, although I'm sure they know most of their techniques -- they're just mostly powerless to stop it. There's just only so much you can do. :(
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    The crazy thing is, if these people put as much research/effort into earning a legitimate living as they do stealing, they would probably be much better off, financially and otherwise.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,275
    I'm probably on the security watch list at all my local WMs. I hit them up a couple times a week and since in 4 of the 5 closest WMs the price scanner closest to the toy section is broken I'm always carrying sets around the stores to scan them, putting them back and leaving the store without buying anything.

    But unlike LFT, when I go in to buy a bunch when its on clearance I go through a line and not the self scan just to avoid any issues. Yesterday I only bought 4 of the big box sets and the guy ringing me up said it was the biggest cart of LEGO he's rang up. I chuckled at it thinking back to January when I had the cart with like 25 battle packs and at least 15 normal sized sets. This guy probably would've freaked out if I had done that. Of course if stuff was at 50% I *would* have done that.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,404
    The crazy thing is, if these people put as much research/effort into earning a legitimate living as they do stealing, they would probably be much better off, financially and otherwise.
    *raises hand*

    To be honest, before reading this story, it never occurred to me to put a different barcode label on the box. That is just... wrong...

    Why bother, it is theft, if you're going to steal, why not just steal?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,404
    But unlike LFT, when I go in to buy a bunch when its on clearance I go through a line and not the self scan just to avoid any issues./blockquote>

    I used to do that, but getting the store employees to not manhandle the boxes is a pain, they simply don't understand that the box condition matters, and it is a waste of time to explain it to them.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Why bother, it is theft, if you're going to steal, why not just steal?
    My guess is they are trying to do it in a way that is less conspicuous. Sure, you could grab the box and walk out the door, but someone is likely to notice. Of course someone noticed the label switch, but I think the perpetrator thought it was more inconspicuous.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,275
    LFT, I always just put them all in the cart with the barcode up and ask them to use the hand scanner. And am ready with the smaller ones to hold them up for them.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,275
    but I think the perpetrator thought it was more inconspicuous.
    Obviously it was, if he managed to move 2100 sets this way. No form of shoplifting LEGO will ever get you that many before someone catches on.

  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    ^ He actually wasn't selling the sets for the most part, if you look at his history. He was parting them out and selling the figs mostly, along with some of the empty sets. So for a given set he probably had on average 5-7 transactions. Plenty of people do this legitimately with certain sets where you can make your money back + some, and then basically get free or cheap bricks. But man is it a lot of work. And he was doing it in massive numbers. I can't believe he ever had time to get any actual work work done.

    Plus, based on the stories I've read, I have a feeling he started off totally legitimately like all of us, and then went off the deep end at some point with this whole barcode business. I bet he wasn't doing it very long before he got caught...
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,275
    ^ by "move" I just meant he got them out of the store not necessarily completed transactions on full sets.
  • dk1007dk1007 Member Posts: 49
    Switching bar-code is very common, I first heard of it back in the mid 90s. I think this guy just over did it, otherwise, he would never be caught. There is no way you can stop this madness, human being are born innocent, but our capitalistic society train us to be all greedy. That goes for all people here who buy cheaper than retail set on ebay, you are greedy too. So, lets stop being all saint about this and continue our capitalistic behavior. May the greediest person gets all the money! :-)
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    ^ right, just saying the 2100 eBay transactions likely represent only a few hundred actual 'sets'.
  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    edited May 2012
    Switching barcodes has been around for years. Just about since barcodes were used have people been switching them.
    The crazy thing is, if these people put as much research/effort into earning a legitimate living as they do stealing, they would probably be much better off, financially and otherwise.
    *raises hand*

    To be honest, before reading this story, it never occurred to me to put a different barcode label on the box. That is just... wrong...

    Why bother, it is theft, if you're going to steal, why not just steal?
    I'm guessing in this case it was an ego thing. The guy was well off, he had a great career, was obviously a clever chap. But there are criminals who commit crime literally just to beat the system. It's some kind of game, testing themselves against the authority to see if they can beat them. Sometimes it's subliminal, but my money is on this guy just getting an ego trip out of outsmarting the law.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,191
    @dk1007 - there is a difference between greed and capitalism... as well as there is a difference between legal and illegal.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    Perhaps he was diagnosed with terminal cancer a year ago, and started this whole endeavor to make some extra cash to provide for his family once he was gone. ;)
  • dk1007dk1007 Member Posts: 49
    @vwong19 - without greed, there is no capitalism, and capitalism drive us to do illegal things. That include keeping the change when the drive-thru cashier give you back more coins than you suppose to get. Come on, admit it, it happen to all of us once in a while.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,110
    human being are born innocent, but our capitalistic society train us to be all greedy.
    human beings in fact ARE born greedy. Greed is an inherent human behavioral trait that has existed since the dawn of man - LONG before capitalism was even a thought in someone's brain. Harnessed in positive productive ways, greed has led to an enormous amount of good for societies and their citizens. Of course greed is a very powerful destructive motivation when harnessed in negative ways. there is nothing wrong with greed or capitalization in the abstract, it's all bout to what extent any person takes them.
    That goes for all people here who buy cheaper than retail set on ebay, you are greedy too. So, lets stop being all saint about this and continue our capitalistic behavior. May the greediest person gets all the money! :-)
    Looking for a good deal is not greedy, it's smart. And there's a big gulf between price-shopping and outright theft. I find this comparison offensive.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,523
    ^ Without capitalism, there is no Lego.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,191
    ^ Yes, without capitalism, we would have Mega Bloks...
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    There is no way you can stop this madness, human being are born innocent, but our capitalistic society train us to be all greedy.
    I don't buy it. Is that why you have to teach little kids to share? The little kid will want all their toys to themselves until taught otherwise or comes to the realization that friends don't like greedy behavior.

    Also, greed is not what drives capitalism. Keep in mind, greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one's self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. Just wanting something for yourself is not greed. And anyways, the thing that really drives capitalism is that efficiency is rewarded. I would argue greed tends to derail capitalism.
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    I sell stuff all the time at below retail, and I'm certainly not a thief. I have a nice wife who allows me to buy tons of Lego, and I usually buy 4-5 of anything I keep to use as trade/sell down the line. Sometimes when I want something new and dont want to spend new money, I put some of my stuff on auction and see what it goes for. Very rarely do I get my money back, but it allows me to purchase new items. I needed some quick cash for some LOTR sets, so I dumped my Series 7 cases super cheap. The boxes were slightly damaged, but the minifigs were untouched. I sold 5 for $475. After reading this thread, some people probably thought they were stolen. But I can hardly give away Series 7 cases. I've had one on there a week and it's got 1 bid for 99 cents and the auction ends tomorrow. Yikes.
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    There is no way you can stop this madness, human being are born innocent, but our capitalistic society train us to be all greedy. That goes for all people here who buy cheaper than retail set on ebay, you are greedy too. So, lets stop being all saint about this and continue our capitalistic behavior. May the greediest person gets all the money! :-)
    "Greed" is the motivation for companies to develop cures and treatments for diseases. Please name one company (including Lego) that is in business just to feel good about itself. If Lego wasn't trying to make money off of cheap pieces of plastic, I don't think they would be entering licensing agreements with the likes of George Lucas (also another greedy human being). And I don't think Steve Jobs was CEO at Apple just to make people happy.

  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 618
    I knew of the barcode-switch tactic from a friend who, back when he was a TFOL and not very well-off financially, actually did this a few times. He only admitted this to me recently after discovering my own Lego addiction. I expressed my disapproval, but was at least satisfied to know he stopped doing it when he genuinely realized the trouble he could get into.

    How he did it was by using a trio of barcodes ripped from three different cheap products sold at Wal-Mart: a pack of sticky tack, a shower curtain, and a very small Lego set (I forget which one, but it was a Castle set). His targets were a few BIONICLE sets, but when he got ambitious and tried to slap a barcode for $6.97 on the 7676 Republic Attack Gunship and pass it off at the self-checkout, it raised a notification to the attendant, who promptly came over to see what was wrong. Wisely, he discretely ripped the false barcode off before the attendant came over, and paid the full $118. After that close call, he claims he never did it again. For his sake, I hope he is true to his word.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 889
    I sell stuff all the time at below retail, and I'm certainly not a thief. I have a nice wife who allows me to buy tons of Lego, and I usually buy 4-5 of anything I keep to use as trade/sell down the line. Sometimes when I want something new and dont want to spend new money, I put some of my stuff on auction and see what it goes for. Very rarely do I get my money back, but it allows me to purchase new items.
    Lol, each to their own, but that is terrible business practice. :)
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    No, it's not a way to make money. But it's worth it to me sometimes to lose a few bucks and buy something new.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Please name one company (including Lego) that is in business just to feel good about itself.
    Since companies are not people, they don't have feelings. Turning a profit is not the only motivation behind running a company, just like making a living is not the only motivation behind having a job. And it's an error to conflate making a profit with being greedy.
    If Lego wasn't trying to make money off of cheap pieces of plastic
    They're not cheap. The pieces are well engineered with high tolerances. If you want cheap plastic pieces, buy a competitor's brand.
    I sell stuff all the time at below retail, and I'm certainly not a thief. I have a nice wife who allows me to buy tons of Lego, and I usually buy 4-5 of anything I keep to use as trade/sell down the line. Sometimes when I want something new and dont want to spend new money, I put some of my stuff on auction and see what it goes for. Very rarely do I get my money back, but it allows me to purchase new items.
    Lol, each to their own, but that is terrible business practice. :)
    Eh, it makes sense. It's like when you buy a new car, drive it for a year or two, and then sell it to get another new car. You always sell the car under retail, but you get to buy a different new car you might not otherwise afford.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Yeah, those in-store bar code scanners are always broken at the wal-marts near me to. Maybe its a way for them to get you to walk around the store more, looking...?
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    edited May 2012
    @dk1007 - Theres a big difference between trying to find good deals and outright theft. Additionally, I find your attitude on this situation troubling.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,712
    ^ Without capitalism, there is no Lego.
    Any extreme is a bad thing.
    Capitalism, when in check, is good for a society, but when you have a majority of people that would sell their own grandmothers to make a buck, then it is out of control.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,110
    ^ that is not a problem with the system, it's a problem with those individuals. And where in this world is a place where "a majority of people that would sell their own grandmothers to make a buck" ?
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^Eh, the system has a problem too. The nice thing about capitalism is that it tends to pick the most efficient solutions. As technology improves, the most effective methods tend to be selected because they offer a competitive advantage. The result is an increase in standard of living. The bad thing about capitalism is that it increases economic inequality. That's the problem.
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 417
    Capitalism is economic enslavement.

  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,110
    perhaps we should just shelve the economic theory discussions and get back to the OT - best idea for all of us.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,404
    Any extreme is a bad thing.
    Capitalism, when in check, is good for a society, but when you have a majority of people that would sell their own grandmothers to make a buck, then it is out of control.
    How about Mother-In-Laws? Mine is staying with us this month... yes, a whole 5 weeks of joy and fun as my wonderful mother-in-law has come to stay with us.

    Actually, I do like her, very nice person, if a bit crazy, but aren't they all? :) But a week would have been nice. :)

    So... Can I sell her? Or maybe just trade her for Lego? :-)
  • johnsbricksjohnsbricks Member Posts: 210
    don't self checkouts have an item weight check such that if you did slap on a cheap and therefore lighter weight box barcode, the attendant is alerted to the item mismatch? In the UK our self service checkouts seem to be overly sensitive with weight checks.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Death to Taxes!
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,714
    In the UK our self service checkouts seem to be overly sensitive with weight checks.
    You can say that again...
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,523
    In the UK our self service checkouts seem to be overly sensitive with weight checks.
    Yes, one Star Destroyer polybag is enough to set off the alarm when buying a copy of the Sun. I know, as it happened to me earlier in the week!
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    although I'm sure they know most of their techniques -- they're just mostly powerless to stop it. There's just only so much you can do.
    No, its just that theres only so much they want to pay to do, they could stop it all if they wanted. Pay staff more, train them better, give them some stake in the company and they'll care more. The self checkouts are the same, the retailers know that it provides a very easy route for theft but its cheaper for them. Someone somewhere has done the cost/risk analysis and decided its more than worth it.


  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,857
    In the UK our self service checkouts seem to be overly sensitive with weight checks.
    Yes, one Star Destroyer polybag is enough to set off the alarm when buying a copy of the Sun. I know, as it happened to me earlier in the week!
    The Tesco one's seem to struggle with CMFs. I don't think I've ever been through a checkout (when buying anything) without it saying "UNIDENTIFIED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA".

  • SpaceCakeSpaceCake Member Posts: 291
    edited May 2012
    "LEGOs are very popular and expensive," Wylie said.
    Damnit, you CAN NOT pluralise the word LEGO!!!!!!!!!!!
    Langenbach bought a $279 box of Millenium Falcon box of LEGOS for just $49
    What the hell... Seriously, who writes this crap?
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    Since companies are not people, they don't have feelings. Turning a profit is not the only motivation behind running a company, just like making a living is not the only motivation behind having a job. And it's an error to conflate making a profit with being greedy.
    You missed my point. However...yes...turning a profit is the primary purpose of every for-profit company I've ever heard of (including Lego). And if it isn't, then the CEO better not tell the share holders.
    They're not cheap. The pieces are well engineered with high tolerances. If you want cheap plastic pieces, buy a competitor's brand.
    Plastic is cheap...very cheap. Yes...Lego does spend a lot of money on their high tolerance molds, but the plastic (material) used is nothing special and is extremely cheap.

    I am all for hard work equaling profit, and don't confuse "profit" with "greed". Lego has worked hard to get to where they are and I applaud them for it. If they get rich in the process (which they are doing very well, as a matter of fact), then good for them.
  • SpaceCakeSpaceCake Member Posts: 291
    edited May 2012

    So... Can I sell her? Or maybe just trade her for Lego? :-)
    Does she cook/clean/fold down to a compact size for ease of storage?

    Scrap that. Last time the authorities found out I was keeping "house-elves" under my kitchen sink I wound up in a fair spot of trouble.
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 519
    How many of you have been inundated with emails, texts and Facebook posts from friends/family linking to this story with the question "did you hear about this guy?".

    Also I'd like to see a cart filled with $1600 of Lego looks like, @legofantexas. Is Walmart having a sale? Nevermind. I can't go to Walmart - ever since I discovered the peopleofwalmart site, I'm scared to go.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,275
    ^ The people at walmart are the best part!
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 519
    edited May 2012
    LOL, I'll pass!

    I don't want to see people walking around with urine bags tied to their legs. :\ You can't unsee stuff like that.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,191
    @littletoki - Thanks, the curiosity got the best of me.... that is some funny stuff.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?

Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy Brickset.com

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

Brickset.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.