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Silicon Valley Tech Exec Changed Bar Code Prices to Pay Less for Legos

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 24, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It seems a nice Bay Area home and executive compensation weren't enough for Thomas Langenbach, a vice president at SAP Labs, a German software company. The Silicon Valley exec is accused of going on a massive Lego theft spree, netting him upwards of $30,000 in profits.

Prosecutors believe Langenbach stiffed four local Target stores out of thousands of dollars. He allegedly put fake bar code stickers on Lego sets and would then purchase them at a major discount. He'd then sell them on eBay.

The Lego theft scheme was sniffed out by Target security officers, according to the Associated Press. They'd been watching him for about a month before his arrest, and called police after he made his final purchase.

A search of Langenbach's home confirmed suspicions. Officers found hundreds of boxed sets and bags of fake bar code stickers, reports the AP. His home was also covered in Lego sets he had built himself.

A search of his eBay account also showed that he had sold approximately 2,100 items in the last year, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. He took in about $30,000 before eBay fees.

Thomas Langenbach has since been charged with four felony counts of second-degree burglary -- one for each of the Target stores he frequented. The charges are in the second degree because he targeted a commercial building, not a home. Still, he faces between 16 months and 3 years behind bars for each count.

That's a lot of jail time for Legos.

If you can't help but think Thomas Langenbach's Lego theft was silly, you're probably right. But his story does get across one important lesson -- you should never underestimate store security. They're bored and they're watching you.

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