PORTLAND, Oregon — That’s a lot of Lego.
An Oregon man has been charged with running a theft operation that netted more than $50,000 worth of Lego and other items from Portland-area stores.
Portland police say Raji Afife Azar, 40, would enlist drug addicts to shoplift toys from shops like Fred Meyer. He would pay them a fraction of the retail cost and then sell the items for substantially more on sites like Craigslist and eBay.
Investigators began tracking Azar earlier this year when store detectives from Fred Meyer learned that he was running a fencing operation dealing in stolen merchandise.
Undercover Portland police detectives eventually made contact with Azar to purportedly sell him stolen goods, and then busted him on April 26 after making the exchange.
When they executed a search warrant on his family’s home, they discovered a huge stash of stolen Lego and other merchandise. Cops estimated the value of the goods stolen from Fred Meyer alone at $50,000.
Investigators warn that items sold online as “new” or in unopened packages with prices that seem too good to be true, might be stolen.