Software Exec Arrested For $30,000 Lego Theft

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Software Exec Arrested For $30,000 Lego Theft

image

A vice president with a California software company has been busted running an elaborate Lego eBay scam.

47-year-old Thomas Langenbach is Vice President of the Integration and Certification Center at Palo Alto-based SAP Labs LLC. He's been with the company since 1988, according to his LinkedIn profile, and joined SAP Labs' ICC in 2000. He holds a degree in computer science and business administration from Berufsakademie Mannheim in Germany.

He's also a Lego criminal mastermind.

He's not made of Lego, to be clear. Rather, he was busted putting fake, "sophisticated" bar codes on boxes of Lego sets at various Target stores, which allowed him to purchase them for far less than their real prices, and then turned around and sold them on eBay for a big profit. Among his scores were a $279 Millennium Falcon set that he bought for $49, and an Anakin Skywalker set normally listing for $90 than he got for $35.

And while it may sound a little rinky-dink, it was actually a very lucrative and busy enterprise. A search of his "multimillion dollar San Carlos home" turned up "hundreds and hundreds" of Lego boxes, and police said he's sold roughly 2100 Lego items worth $30,000 through his now-closed "tomsbrickyard" eBay store.

Police caught on to Langenbach's scheme thanks to Target's in-store security, which apparently pays very close attention to Lego sales as a matter of routine; as police spokeswoman Liz Wylie explained, "Legos are very popular and expensive." He's currently facing four counts of burglary, but could be on the hook for more as police are still trying to separate the stolen Lego items from those he may legitimately own.

Source: NBC Bay Area

Permalink

Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

What's worse is that this guy was a company Executive - A VP even. Yet he still found reason to induce himself into this scam which made him a 'paltry' $30,000.

I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

Yeah I agree, 47 years old and still building Lego?, he should be playing with Meccano like a fucking real man, the sissy.

Boyninja616:

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

What's worse is that this guy was a company Executive - A VP even. Yet he still found reason to induce himself into this scam which made him a 'paltry' $30,000.

I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

Sometimes executives do theese things for fun. Steve Jobs famously drove a car without lisence plates.

Though all that was legal becuase there was a one-month period in which a car can be driven on the road before it must be issued lisence plates. It did mean he had to replace his car every month, but he actually said it was a game to him.

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

I don't know - I've seen the Lego Executor and it's bigger than some kids. That thing ain't a toy by a long shot, it's a model. With a bunch of odd bumps.


Boyninja616:
I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

The wonders of greed, I guess. Treating one's bank account like a high score rather than a resource.

I don't know, if I was his employer I think I'd be checking over what he was in charge of for any odd expenses or missing equipment.

gigastar:

Boyninja616:

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

What's worse is that this guy was a company Executive - A VP even. Yet he still found reason to induce himself into this scam which made him a 'paltry' $30,000.

I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

Sometimes executives do theese things for fun. Steve Jobs famously drove a car without lisence plates.

Though all that was legal becuase there was a one-month period in which a car can be driven on the road before it must be issued lisence plates. It did mean he had to replace his car every month, but he actually said it was a game to him.

One of his reasons was that he didn't want people "Recognising him".

You're driving around in a car with no plates. I think people are gonna know who you are.

He apparently just shrugged this warning off.

Logic failure.

Oh and it was every 6 months (Pedantic).

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

It is. But I don't see how this is relevant to the news ;)

Boyninja616:
I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Maybe he just got a buzz from it, maybe it made him feel superior...

But seriously, buying a $249 set for $49 is rather incredible. Those boxes are freakin huge! If the cashier would have had the slightest clue about Lego, this guy wouldn't have been able to pull that one off.

Sewa_Yunga:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

It is. But I don't see how this is relevant to the news ;)

Boyninja616:
Ican understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Maybe he just got a buzz from it, maybe it made him feel superior...

But seriously, buying a $249 set for $49 is rather incredible. Those boxes are freakin huge! If the cashier would have had the slightest clue about Lego, this guy wouldn't have been able to pull that one off.

Ever worked in retail? It's pretty boring. I doubt the cashier'd have noticed either way. In this man's position, I'd feel superior from being the freaking Vice President of a company. Selling kids toys for more than you paid for them? It's pathetic and shows that he wasn't really thinking at all.

Ebay is Ebay. He probably could have bought the set at RRP and still found SOMEONE stupid enough to buy it for a profit.

Still a logic failure, in my eyes.

I like Lego more than your average 20 year old but that's a little silly. I mean you're a software executive, you've already got good money. Right?

*shrugs and goes off to play with Lego spaceships*

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

DigitalSushi:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

Yeah I agree, 47 years old and still building Lego?, he should be playing with Meccano like a fucking real man, the sissy.

:P Take a look at this local news story from the city I live in:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47513448/ns/local_news-kansas_city_mo/

Evidently there's plenty enough adults that still love themselves some Legos.

Sewa_Yunga:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

It is. But I don't see how this is relevant to the news ;)

It has everything to do with the news.

Everything.

That guy is a genius, they should let him go on account of his creativity.
Seriously, replacing the bar codes? How did he get that brilliant idea?

Is this a new guy pulling this crap or is it just taking this long to bring the guy they busted a couple years ago to trail. I seem to recall reading something similar to this happening around two or three years ago. The guy in that story used Target stores in his scam too.

say what you will the guy tried to be smart about it going through the whole replacing bar codes to get the same items cheaper, he should've done it at a smaller store though. Like Grampa's Brisk House would've never caught on to this

Many Bothans died to bring us these discounts.

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

I guess that means there's no chance of him running for office.

So did no one notice the price drop of the said lego set? I guess I'm missing something if they didn't notice it sooner.

I'm 31 and I build Lego robots. Then again I never pay retail for my bricks or buy sets. So much cheaper to buy it by the brick, especially Technic bricks if you don't mind mismatched colors.

DigitalSushi:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

Yeah I agree, 47 years old and still building Lego?, he should be playing with Meccano like a fucking real man, the sissy.

A real 47 year old would have learned basic engineering from wikibooks/free online university courses and made a _real_ Millennium Falcon.

gigastar:

Boyninja616:

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

What's worse is that this guy was a company Executive - A VP even. Yet he still found reason to induce himself into this scam which made him a 'paltry' $30,000.

I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

Sometimes executives do theese things for fun. Steve Jobs famously drove a car without lisence plates.

Though all that was legal becuase there was a one-month period in which a car can be driven on the road before it must be issued lisence plates. It did mean he had to replace his car every month, but he actually said it was a game to him.

You've got so much money you don't know what to do with it, the only way to relieve boredom is to find something completely and utterly ridiculous. Creating barcodes, cutting the barcodes out of the lego boxes, planting your fake ones in, getting through the register, then convincing someone to buy it for 200USD more than you paid for it sounds pretty challenging. Possibly even fun

Sewa_Yunga:
But seriously, buying a $249 set for $49 is rather incredible. Those boxes are freakin huge! If the cashier would have had the slightest clue about Lego, this guy wouldn't have been able to pull that one off.

I don't know how it works in other countries but in the UK you have to sell the item for the price that it appears as on the cash register, regardless of the price listed on the shelf. This has happened to me a few times when buying electronic items in shops over here, always a nice surprise.

Anyway, Lego is so severely overpriced that I doubt anyone in the shop would even look twice if you halved the retail price. It never looks like it's worth the asking price.

RJ 17:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

DigitalSushi:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

Yeah I agree, 47 years old and still building Lego?, he should be playing with Meccano like a fucking real man, the sissy.

:P Take a look at this local news story from the city I live in:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47513448/ns/local_news-kansas_city_mo/

Evidently there's plenty enough adults that still love themselves some Legos.

wow the fuck...

kansas city sucks!

jk :P it's actually quite nice, if I ever want to move away that would probably be one of my top 3 choices.

that is an awesome day though, i might just have to remember that...

gigastar:

Boyninja616:

gigastar:
Funny ways some people try to scam a living.

Then i suppose you need to be some sort of pragmatist to be able to pull this sort of stuff anyway.

What's worse is that this guy was a company Executive - A VP even. Yet he still found reason to induce himself into this scam which made him a 'paltry' $30,000.

I can understand some down-and-out office worker or disgruntled Retail Assistant doing this, but not someone who likely gets more than $150,000 a year.

Logic failure.

Sometimes executives do theese things for fun. Steve Jobs famously drove a car without lisence plates.

Though all that was legal becuase there was a one-month period in which a car can be driven on the road before it must be issued lisence plates. It did mean he had to replace his car every month, but he actually said it was a game to him.

It was also to park in handicap spaces without getting a handicap plate or tag.

Where's the creativity in buying a set of everything ready to make?

Lego should be kept in one big box that you have to rummage through to find that one piece that you saw 10 minutes ago and you now can't find.

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

It is my view that you are never too old for lego. I am 21 and my 50 year old mother still tries to build at least part of any set I bring home. I also have two large bins with a ton of old sets that could probably fetch a good price on Ebay, I build them from time to time.

Andy Chalk:
Software Exec Arrested For $30,000 Lego Theft

image

A vice president with a California software company has been busted running an elaborate Lego eBay scam.

47-year-old Thomas Langenbach is Vice President of the Integration and Certification Center at Palo Alto-based SAP Labs LLC. He's been with the company since 1988, according to his LinkedIn profile, and joined SAP Labs' ICC in 2000. He holds a degree in computer science and business administration from Berufsakademie Mannheim in Germany.

He's also a Lego criminal mastermind.

He's not made of Lego, to be clear. Rather, he was busted putting fake, "sophisticated" bar codes on boxes of Lego sets at various Target stores, which allowed him to purchase them for far less than their real prices, and then turned around and sold them on eBay for a big profit. Among his scores were a $279 Millennium Falcon set that he bought for $49, and an Anakin Skywalker set normally listing for $90 than he got for $35.

And while it may sound a little rinky-dink, it was actually a very lucrative and busy enterprise. A search of his "multimillion dollar San Carlos home" turned up "hundreds and hundreds" of Lego boxes, and police said he's sold roughly 2100 Lego items worth $30,000 through his now-closed "tomsbrickyard" eBay store.

Police caught on to Langenbach's scheme thanks to Target's in-store security, which apparently pays very close attention to Lego sales as a matter of routine; as police spokeswoman Liz Wylie explained, "Legos are very popular and expensive." He's currently facing four counts of burglary, but could be on the hook for more as police are still trying to separate the stolen Lego items from those he may legitimately own.

Source: NBC Bay Area

Permalink

Quick question, why are Lego sets so damned expensive now? Back when I was a kid (Like in '99) Lego Sets were not 300$ bucks! Those same things would cost around 100$ back then... At least in South Dakota...

Rex Dark:
That guy is a genius, they should let him go on account of his creativity.
Seriously, replacing the bar codes? How did he get that brilliant idea?

not too difficult, a while back 40 lbs. dog food bags had removable stickers of their bar codes for you to scan. It was made for people who were not able to flip the packages over in the cart.

The problem? the 20 lbs. bags had the same idea, and a 20 lbs. bag costs less than the 40 lbs. bag.

So..... yea, you were essentially 'saving' only about $8~$12 per bag, but it was enough to make the companies stop making those stickers.

OT: What was the argument software companies make about piracy and loss of profits?

I tend to forget when one of their executives steals.

It's no legos; it is just Lego. To me, Lego is one of those words that implies both grouped and singular at the same time (Like Pokemon).

It just makes me cringe when someone says "legos" instead of "Lego is"

...But yes, wish I bought this cheap stuff. It would have been awesome.

Its sad because if any target employe had payed attention they wouldve noticed
1) This guy buys alot from us eh...
2) How come i sold this for 300 and then for 50$?

Sewa_Yunga:

But seriously, buying a $249 set for $49 is rather incredible. Those boxes are freakin huge! If the cashier would have had the slightest clue about Lego, this guy wouldn't have been able to pull that one off.

That's not really how it works in Big Box retail. As a cashier, you're not paid to ask questions, you're paid to ring up the "guest" and wrap their goods as quickly as possible to assist the next one in line. You are timed on this. If you ring them up quickly, you get a "Good" rating. If you ring them up not quickly enough (or your "guest" is just slow at taking their charge card out") you get a "Bad" rating. If, at the end of a couple shifts you drop below 80% Good, you are up for a "Performance Review".

Point is the price of a box of Legos is the last thing on cashier's minds. They don't walk around the stores and look at prices like Sales floor team, or get too involved with Assets Protection. They're too busy/fatigued/justdon'tgiveafuck to notice price discrepancies, just get 'em out the door and on to the next one.

Smaller retail and hobby stores, however, are a different story...

Azmael Silverlance:
Its sad because if any target employe had payed attention they wouldve noticed
1) This guy buys alot from us eh...
2) How come i sold this for 300 and then for 50$?

They were. Again, its Target's in-store securities job to do that. Not the cashiers.

Also, you need to have a good amount of indisputable proof before you go asking the police for a warrant, especially since he never overtly stole anything. Warrants aren't granted so easily.

You know what would be amazing? If they had applied the same diligence in sorting legit stuff to the Megaupload case.

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

You are never too old for Legos

This man is a glorious pirate. We need to make him famous, so drinking songs can be made of his exploits. And, if we're lucky, he'll escape to his yacht, where a fierce battle between him and the cost guard will break out. He'll accidentally step on a loose brick on the stairs, causing him to fall into the engine room and spill fuel, which will then be ignited by a misfiring electrical component, damged in the firefight, causing the engine to exploded. The ship will sink to the ocean floor, and for years, we'll hunt for his lost lego treasure trove, stowed away on board

8-Bit_Jack:

RaNDM G:
Langenbach is 47. Isn't that a little old to be playing with toys?

You are never too old for Legos

This man is a glorious pirate. We need to make him famous, so drinking songs can be made of his exploits. And, if we're lucky, he'll escape to his yacht, where a fierce battle between him and the cost guard will break out. He'll accidentally step on a loose brick on the stairs, causing him to fall into the engine room and spill fuel, which will then be ignited by a misfiring electrical component, damged in the firefight, causing the engine to exploded. The ship will sink to the ocean floor, and for years, we'll hunt for his lost lego treasure trove, stowed away on board

Hark! Tales of Lagenbach's Lego Locker are already flying on the winds! Another round of rum for my swarthy treasure seekers! At first light, we seek plastic in the high seas!

$279 for a plastic Millennium Falcon that isn't even assembled?

Now that's a crime!

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