The Great Lego Robbery

Some guy was recently caught stealing Legos from a Target store:

Lego theft.

It looks like he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Legos and sold them over the Internet.

Now my question:

A truckload of Legos were confiscated from his house. Obviously, they will be held as evidence for awhile but then what will happen to them? Can Target claim the Legos if they can’t prove how many of them where actually stolen from Target stores? Can other stores make claims? Is there some area by which insurance adjusters will get involved? Would they eventually get sold by the courts or donated to some charity?

Police Auction, likely.

Unless the doofus forgot to remove the phoney tags, then it can be traced.

So Target has no claim to the Legos even though they deduced the pattern that led to the apprehension? Could a judge get involved in deciding if a claim by Target was legitimate? Could the guy demand that the Legos get returned to him if it cannot be proven when they were stolen and from where they were stolen?


Ownership is proved, or out to auction it goes.

After all, the losses the the store suffered could have been inflicted by many thieves.

Sorry nothing to add except that I think it’s cool that I can build things with Legos online now!

Bosda Di’Chi of Tricor is right about needing to establish that a specific item came from a store in order for them to reclaim it.

However, it sounds like the folks at Target can establish how much stuff this guy took with his scheme. While that won’t help them recover specific items of merchandise, I’d guess that they stand a good chance of recovering the cost of those items in a civil suit.

A judgement they may get, but most people who steal like that won’t have assets to chase. If they do have assets, they were probably stealing to keep up with the payments on them and other debts.
Even if Target does pursue his property, I’d wager after his other creditors get through bargaining everything out and possibly running him through a bankruptcy, Target’s not looking at recovering over 15 cents on the dollar. Perhaps not even worth the lawyer’s fees to collect if he actually fights the civil case.
He won’t be working for a while, either.

My brother owned a jewellery store that was robbed. Many months later when police arrested the culprits (in regard to other crimes) my brother had no claim on the stolen goods because his insurer had already compensated him. He believes the insurer got the goods.

Back to the second part of my question:

From the replies, it sounds like Target is out of luck unless there is some identifier on the packages. Assuming there is no identifier can the guy get [most of] his legos back since it looks like the authorities can’t prove they were stolen if he makes no admission?

For low cost items with no registration or serial mumbers what does it take for the authorities to be able to make the assumption that goods are stolen?

I could be wrong, but if the items are in their original boxes, the way each store enters the bar code information into their computers can identify if a product was from their store.
I thought I read he admitted taking them from various Target© Stores after they caught him.

Most barcodes in Retail stores are UPCs or Universal Product Code, a portion of which identifies the manufacture and a portion identifies the product within that Manufactures line, Most major Retailers like Target do not go to the additional labor expense involved in adding their own UPC type barcode to individual items, now however some manufacturers pander to certain Retailers offering items exclusive to said Retailer, like you get this Super cool Cecil Adams Lego Set complete with accesory Chicago Reader pieces only from Target Stores, those I imagine they or their insurer would be able to lay claim to.

If they can’t prove that the specific items in the guy’s house came from Target, can they still convict him of theft? In other words, if they had enough evidence to convict him, isn’t that also enough evidence to establish ownership of the stolen goods?

Well, I don’t know, but it certainly looks like the authorities think they have evidence that he stole some legos. Since they’ve indicted him and all.

Under those circumstances, I wouldn’t be surprised if the presumption would be that all of the sets found of a similar type in the suspect’s home were stolen, unless there’s some kind of clear evidence that shows some of them were legally purchase, and which ones.

They’ll probably auction it all off once he’s been convicted. That’s a WAG though.