Massive Lego seizure in Oregon highlights growing concerns about retail theft

Massive Lego seizure in Oregon highlights growing concerns about retail theft

(LAUREN TAYLOR)

AN OREGON MAN’S LEGO EMPIRE IS NO MORE AFTER POLICE RAIDED HIS TOY STORE, BUT IT’S JUST A SMALL PART OF A WIDER, GROWING RETAIL THEFT PROBLEM.

FOLLOWING A THREE-MONTH INVESTIGATION, AUTHORITIES FOUND MORE THAN FOUR THOUSAND ALLEGEDLY STOLEN AND HARD-TO-FIND LEGO SETS WORTH OVER $200 THOUSAND DOLLARS AT A STORE KNOWN AS “BRICK BUILDERS.”

LAW ENFORCEMENT SAY THIEVES STEAL EXPENSIVE LEGOS FROM RETAILERS AND THEN SELL THEM TO BRICK BUILDERS EMPLOYEES. THE COMPANY THEN RESELLS THEM FOR A HIGHER PRICE.

THE STORE OWNER AND AN EMPLOYEE ARE NOW CHARGED WITH ORGANIZED THEFT AND HAVING RECEIVED STOLEN GOODS. THE CHARGE OF ORGANIZED THEFT ALONE IS PUNISHABLE BY UP TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON.

OREGON RECENTLY INCREASED MAXIMUM PENALTIES FOR STORE ROBBERIES AS CRIMINAL TREND CONTINUES NATIONWIDE AND BIG BOX STORES ARE ON HIGH ALERT.

TARGET RECENTLY CLOSED SEVERAL STORES ACROSS THE COUNTRY DUE TO RETAIL CRIME AND HIRED MORE SECURITY STAFF.

RETAILERS HAVE ALSO PUT MORE ITEMS BEHIND THE WINDOWS — A DECISION THAT COMES AT A COST.

ANALYSTS SAY THE BLOCKADE OF GOODS COULD REDUCE SALES BY 12 TO 20 PERCENT.

CRACKDOWNS ON RETAIL THEFTS ARE ALSO INTENSIFYING.

IN SOUTH FLORIDA, 14 PEOPLE WERE CHARGED WITH STEALING MORE THAN $20 MILLION IN MERCHANDISE IN OCTOBER.

AND IN TEXAS, LAWMAKERS ARE CONSIDERING THE POSSIBILITY OF CREATING A PROPOSED TASK FORCE TO COMBAT A RISE IN RETAIL THEFTS.

RETAIL THEFTS COST STORES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR AND SOME EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN ATTACKED IN SO-CALLED “SMASH-AND-GRABS”

IN TURN, CRIME LEADS TO REDUCED RETAIL CHOICE AND HIGHER PRICES FOR CUSTOMERS.

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