It sounds like something out of a children’s movie – after French police arrested three Polish thieves who tried to steal toys in June 2020, more specifically Lego sets. Authorities are now trying to address a growing trend of Lego robbery by warning business owners and parents, Vergen reports.
According to a report in Le Parisien, the thieves were part of a gang that wanted to stay in hotels near Paris, drive around in an Audi and “raid” toy stores for valuable Lego sets to resell in Poland. The thieves were caught robbing a PicWicToys toy store, after being discovered in 2019 and 2020 in two separate European toy stores, La Grande Récré and Maxi Toys. The French police allegedly “build a case”
The idea that plastic Lego bricks are worth enough to lure an international ring of thieves to steal them may seem strange – the most expensive Lego set ever made sells for only $ 800 – but some sets can be worth more over time. On top of that, says Gerben van IJken, a Lego specialist who advises online auction sites Vergen that interest in reselling Lego has grown dramatically over the past year:
Investing in these parts is not new, but this niche market has reached new heights with the pandemic. People have more time at home due to health restrictions and the gaming market has exploded.
Van IJken quotes a Lego set that will sell for € 150 (around $ 212) in 2007 and resell for € 2500 (around $ 2,943) in 2020. That value increase may be due to Lego’s practice of cycling sets out of production after around two years , sier van Ijken. Keeping older sets “in the vault” (reminiscent of Disney’s home video strategy) makes those still on the market or in the owner’s hands much rarer and more valuable.
Lego theft is also not limited to France. A man allegedly stole around two million dollars worth of Lego sets in Florida in 2012. Given the risk, if you have a collectible Lego space shuttle on the way, it may be time to think about safety.