Seattle police bust lucrative Lego trafficking scheme

11 months ago 140

Police successful Seattle went undercover to interruption unfastened what they said was a trafficking ringing involving the merchantability of costly stolen goods: Lego, taken from an Amazon store.

Saying they had seized 171 sets, constabulary released a picture showing the boxes stacked together.

The accused store proprietor denied knowingly selling stolen goods, protested the representation and said helium would combat the resultant charges.

According to 1 expert, Lego theft and trafficking has go a large concern.

RJ Coughlin, a manager astatine Brickcon, a normal for big Lego enthusiasts, told Fox 13 Seattle Lego theft was “very, precise salient present successful the north-west”, successful portion due to the fact that sets tin fetch $800.

“You could spell to Fred Meyer and Walmart successful galore parts of the city, successful the outlying areas, and you’ll really spot Lego sets are locked up,” Coughlin said.

“You volition spot shelves that are beauteous overmuch empty, and if you speech to the employees they volition archer you idiosyncratic virtually came that morning, loaded up the cart afloat of Lego and conscionable walked close retired [of] there.”

This summer, the Amazon 4-Star, a store successful downtown Seattle tally by the online retail giant, said it was the people of a repetition shoplifter who stole electronics and Lego sets worthy much than $10,000.

At the aforesaid time, Rummage Around, an relation astatine Pike Place, was selling fashionable sets based connected Star Wars’ The Mandalorian and different franchises. To an worker of the Amazon store, the sets looked suspiciously familiar. A supervisor visited, saw recognition stickers connected sets and contacted instrumentality enforcement.

Seattle constabulary commenced what they called “Operation: MandalOrganized Retail Theft”, going undercover to investigate the Pike Place seller.

Plainclothes officers visited the store to connection marked merchandise – specifically, a Baby Yoda Lego acceptable – to its 67-year-old owner, Mark Brady. According to constabulary reports, aft an undercover detective told Brady helium stole the acceptable from Amazon 4-Star, Brady said helium did not similar that the acceptable was marked but could chopped the marker off.

The detective, constabulary said, asked Brady: “What other bash you need?”

Brady allegedly replied that helium would instrumentality “Lego sets – the large ones”.

After weeks of investigation, constabulary determined Brady was knowingly selling stolen goods. Saying Brady directed a “prolific” shoplifter to bargain from retail stores, they besides said that connected 1 juncture the shoplifter sold aggregate items to Brady portion detectives were successful his store. Police said they were inactive investigating the shoplifting suspect, who they had identified.

Brady was charged with trafficking stolen property, an discourtesy which could pb to situation time.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Brady denied knowingly selling stolen goods and said chap Pike Place concern owners had created a GoFundMe relationship to assistance him clasp a lawyer.

“I bash privation to combat this,” helium said.

Brady told the Post helium was unhappy with the photograph of the allegedly stolen sets, which helium said made him look to beryllium a “monster”. He besides questioned however constabulary could beryllium which sets were stolen, and said his beingness had precocious been made “miserable”, done respective surgeries and slowing concern owed to the pandemic.

Police said the probe was continuing.