News

The Great LEGO Caper Comes to an End

massive LEGO haul - some of the stolen merchandise recovered in Portland OR
just SOME of the stolen merchandise

Portland Police Put Plastic Pilferer in the Pokey

Police in Portland apprehended an elusive LEGO crime lord this week. They arrested 40-year old Raji Azar. Azar hired local drug addicts to shoplift LEGO toys and sell them to him for cheap. Then, the culprit flipped the toys for profit on sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Oregon’s Department Stores Rest Easy

Raji A. Azar, kingpin of toy theft in Portland OR LEGO fencing operation
Raji Azar, toy fence

Those in Oregon know Fred Meyer as the go-to big box store. The retail outlet is native to the state and merged with Kroger in 1999. Though, they kept the Fred Meyer name to stay consistent with their decades-long brand. As a big retail store, shoplifting is a constant concern. Of course, shoplifting comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s a kid testing his rebellious side. Other times, it’s a more sinister and organized affair.

Fortunately, Fred Meyer has a special unit dedicated to organized theft. As a matter of fact, they are known as the Organized Retail Theft Unit because justice doesn’t mince words. The ORTU Investigators noticed an uptick in missing LEGO product and carefully monitored activity in Portland area Fred Meyer stores. Once they confronted the culprits, the investigators found more than they bargain-binned for and involved Portland police. The police traced the thefts to Raji Azar.

Breaking Plastic

Azar’s brilliant scheme involved hiring drug addicts to steal LEGO and Transformers toys and bring them to his house. Once there, he flipped the toys on eBay and Craigslist. Azar chose LEGO and Transformers products because they hold their value. Many “used” or “like new” toys fetch much lower prices on resale, but LEGO holds a special place in the toy economy. Although, Portland police warned that many “new” and “unopened” toys are stolen. LEGO is the Honda Civic of toys.

Authorities seized a whopping $50,000 worth of LEGO products from Azar’s home. So, let this be a lesson to any potential Fred Meyer thieves. Fred Meyer is always watching. Fred Meyer delivers swift justice. And most importantly, don’t steal.

 

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About the author

MJ Smith

MJ Smith makes his home in California, and when not listening to Hamilton, podcasts and writes about pop culture on the internet. He loves board games, Swamp Thing, and The Wachowski's SPEED RACER.

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