It took a while for the Langley RCMP to put together all the pieces but they finally broke apart the case of stolen LEGO.
Police would eventually discover about $120,000 worth of stolen merchandise.
A Langley man, Henry Bennett Smith, 31, was given a two year conditional sentenced and 145 days in jail (time served) after pleading guilty to a variety of charges from several jurisdictions in the Lower Mainland, said Langley Sgt. Ravinder Pawar.
The charges included trafficking in stolen property.
Since September 2015, the police have received more than 20 complains of LEGO theft just in Langley.
“This investigation was complex in nature and began in the fall after a large quantity of Lego was found in Smith’s residence when Langley Drug Section executed a search warrant for drugs and weapons,” Pawar explained.
The Prolific Offender Suppresion Team (POST) joined the investigation.
“The quantity of Lego was a red flag to investigators leading them to believe Smith may be involved in the theft and selling of LEGO products,” Pawar said.
POST discovered in January that Smith had a rented storage locker and the team obtained a search warrant.
“Over 50 plastic totes full of new Lego was located and SMITH was arrested the following day when he attended the storage facility,” Pawar said.
More search warrants were obtained forthe man’s residence and his vehicle. His home contained a large quantity of LEGO and other products including sports collectibles, expensive toys, cosmetics and clothing. It is estimated that there was over $120,000 in stolen items recovered.
“The challenge with this type of crime is most of the offences are not reported due to the nature of shoplifting,” said Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power. “Increased quality and quantity of retail surveillance cameras are having a very positive effect on this crime type. We continue to work with any business seeking advice or assistance in crime prevention options for their business.
The Langley RCMP wants the public to know this is not kids’ stuff and such crimes have broader implications.
“Willful blindness to the black market ends up enabling criminals and hurting everyone at the end of the day,” said . These may be the same people that end up stealing from you some day.”
The police advise people to ask where items come from and be careful when buying items off the internet from private sellers.
“Mr. Smith had a long run of acquiring stolen goods and our success at stopping his network will have a positive effect on local businesses and collectable shops,” Power said.