Not the bricks you might be expecting though. Lego bricks. In Germany yesterday burglars knocked a hole in the wall of a toy store in order to steal Lego bricks. The thieves made off with dozens of sets, leaving about 100 empty boxes behind.
The Lego larceny took place over the weekend in the town of Lippstadt, Germany. German police are looking for witnesses to the burglary. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the burglars had taken the instruction books.
One might quickly conclude that emptying the contents of lego boxes and making off with the bricks without instructions was not a wise idea, however, such is not necessarily the case. There is a thriving ecosystem of after-market brick sales, in both pieces and sets. Sets can also be sold without their original packaging as well. The value of a Lego brick continues to rise and is consistently gained valued over the retail price in every theme.
The website BrickEconomy analyzes the value of sets over time and virtually any way you plot the data there is a gain in value across the whole of the lego portfolio. Sometimes individual set’s value doesn’t make it back to their original retail, but even then there is also an entire industry selling individual pieces. Lego aficionados flock websites like BrickLink, BrickOwl, BrickPicker, BrickScout, or eBay to find “that one piece” they are missing for a build. Sets can be broken down and listed piece by piece and recoup the original value easily.
Serious buyers are often on the lookout for undervalued sets like these. Especially if they contain a rare or particularly valuable piece. Even bulk lots from craigslist or facebook marketplace get snapped up by the pound. One Lego fan named Daniel West took this concept to a whole new level by building a machine-learning automatic lego sorting device.
With all these factors contributing to the booming success of Lego as not only a toy, but a legitimate investment portfolio, it is no wonder that nefarious actors are eyeballing toy stores for these golden bricks, even with complicated trafficking schemes.
Lego has always been a source of creativity for enthusiasts, both young and old. As a creative tool it has this intrinsic value unmatched by other toys in the unlimited possibilities it presents. Even being named “toy of the century” twice! One might consider a toy as influential and innovative as the paperclip. However, both criminals and collectors alike would beg to differ, placing clear and hefty price tags on the simple plastic bricks.