Giant Stolen LEGO Stash Leads To Arrest Of 71-Year-Old Man

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Los Angeles police arrested 71-year-old LEGO thief Richard Siegel and his 39-year-old accomplice Blanca Gudino on June 5 after seizing 2,800 boxes of stolen LEGO sets. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the value of the individual boxes found at Siegel’s Long Beach home ranges from $20 to over $1,000.

Grandpa Theft LEGO


Detectives began investigating when a San Pedro retailer identified Gudino as the suspect in multiple December thefts. Months later, on June 4, officers observed the younger LEGO thief stealing from stores in Torrance and Lakewood and delivering the items to Siegel’s home. Detectives believe Siegel sold the stolen goods online since several potential buyers visited his house during the raid.

Siegel was booked for organized retail theft, and Gudino was booked for grand theft. LEGO thief Siegel was later released on his own recognizance, while the much younger Gudino was held on $20,000 bail​. The LAPD is encouraging anyone with information about this case to contact them or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

LEGO Thievery Runs Deeper Than You’d Think

The LEGO batman movie

The Los Angeles incident is not the first case of LEGO theft on record. In 2021, French authorities took action against an international gang specializing in stealing LEGO. The investigation gained momentum when three members of the gang were arrested during an attempted burglary at a toy store in Yvelines, near Paris, in June 2020.

The suspects, who were from Poland, revealed that they were part of a larger LEGO thief network targeting specific LEGO sets highly sought after by collectors. They typically operated by setting up temporary bases in hotels, raiding local toy stores, and then smuggling the stolen goods back to Poland to sell online.

How Lucrative Is LEGO Larceny?

lego star wars

The rise in LEGO thief incidents during the pandemic was attributed to increased demand as more people turned to hobbies like LEGO building during lockdowns. Experts noted that the secondhand market for LEGO surged, with some sets becoming valuable commodities. For example, a LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon set can fetch over $3,700 on secondary markets.

In a more recent case, the California Highway Police made headlines in April 2024 by arresting three men and a woman for stealing $300,000 worth of LEGO sets from stores like Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. The stolen items included the 921-piece Millennium Falcon, the 6,167-piece Lord of the Rings Rivendell set, and the 1,458-piece Porsche 911 set.

Sought After Star Wars Sets

Lego Star Wars

These LEGO thief incidents highlight the significant demand for LEGO sets among collectors and the substantial profits that can be made from selling rare or discontinued sets. The thefts also demonstrate the lengths to which criminals will go to capitalize on this demand, making LEGO sets a surprisingly valuable and targeted commodity in the world of organized theft.

Several LEGO sets are highly valuable for collectors and anyone who wants to become a thief. The 10123 Cloud City set, released in 2003 as part of the Star Wars theme, boasts a used value of $4,500 and new value of $7,500 due to its rarity and intricate design replicating Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back.

No Minifigure Is Safe

lego movie

Another prized item is the Mr. Gold Minifigure from the 2013 Minifigure Series 10, with only 5,000 produced. It fetches a used value of $3,000 and a new value of $10,000. Among vintage sets, the 810-2 Town Plan from 1961 holds significant worth, valued at $2,700 used and $4,500 new, owing to its historical importance as one of LEGO’s earliest offerings.

Source: CBS News

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