Toy shops in France have been targeted by a gang of international Lego thieves who attempted to steal valuable collectible sets, police allege.
Officers took three people into custody — two men and a woman — who had traveled from Poland to Yvelines, a town outside Paris, where they were allegedly caught raiding a shop.
While millions of children have grown up playing with the plastic bricks that start selling for around $10, rare series such as “Lego Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon” have reached $15,000, while a “Taj Mahal” first edition had a value of around $3,864.
An officer quoted in Le Parisien newspaper confirmed the arrests, saying: “They come to France, set up in a hotel in the Paris region, then set about raiding toy stores before returning to Poland to sell off their haul.
“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children. There are numerous adults who play with it; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Lego stolen.”
Lego has long been considered a valuable asset by thieves because it is small, light and portable. In 2014 police in Arizona retrieved stolen Lego worth $145,000 and arrested four people. A year later five people were arrested with a $11,000 Lego haul.
In Australia professional thieves targeted toy shops in Victoria and New South Wales, taking $22,000 in 2014.