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There’s a new set of criminals in Europe, and theyre out for...Lego?
The Guardian reports that French police have opened an investigation into an international gang of toy burglars who only steal Lego. Last June, French authorities apprehended one Polish woman and two Polish men who had broken into a toy shop outside of Paris to steal boxes of Lrgo. During thir interrogation, all three suspects reportedly revealed that they were part of an operation to steal highly coveted Lego that was wanted by collectors.
“The Lego community isn’t just made up of children,” an investigator told Le Parisien newspaper. “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.”
The officer added that the burglars “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.” Reports of break-ins by the crew initially began in November 2019, and then in February 2020. Cops also issued a warning to specialty shops and parents about the increasing value of the toy across the world.
Sales of Lego have been skyrocketing over the past year, as the global health crisis set in. Gerben van Ijken, a Lego specialist at the online auction platform Catawiki, said that sales have doubled over the past year.
“Investing in these pieces isn’t new but this niche market has reached new heights with the pandemic. People have more time at home because of the health restrictions and the game market has exploded. We often have more than 1,000 Lego sales a week,” he told The Guardian.
“There’s always been dealing in Lego because it’s a premium toy range and attracts many adults, but also because the company withdraw its collections around two years after they come out, so a secondhand market is inevitable,” he added. “The phenomenon has exploded over the last eight years because people have realised they can make money reselling Lego on the internet.”