Legos aren’t typically thought to be hot commodities on the black market, but in a story that almost seems too strange to be true, a vice president at the ERP Software giant SAP stands accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of expensive Lego sets and reselling them on eBay for a steep profit.
In a scam that’s been called the worst case of its kind, 47-year-old Thomas Langenbach allegedly printed hundreds of his own bar codes and attached them to sets of Legos in multiple Target locations throughout California. By covering the actual price, police say he was able to purchase some of the more expensive Lego sets at deep discounts and then resell them on eBay. The estimated profit? About $30,000 in a year.
Target became aware of the scam thanks to security camera surveillance and was able to put store employees on alert, leading to a fairly rapid arrest on May 8 after a loss prevention officer personally witnessed Langenbach re-labeling the Lego boxes.
Legos are about as far removed from high-level technology as it gets, which makes it especially difficult to understand why a representative from a well known ERP vendor (Enterprise Resource Planning Vendor) would potentially involve himself in such a scam. Police suggest there may be a special attachment to the toys, as the man’s $2 million San Carlos home was apparently filled with hundreds of boxes of Legos, including some duplicate sets. The incident has left Langenbach to face felony burglary charges and a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison if convicted.