Brazen bandits are targeting toy stores across Victoria and New South Wales, making off with thousands of dollars’ worth of Lego in what store owners say are organised heists.
At least four toy stores are believed to have been targeted by professional thieves suspected of selling their ill-gotten bricks online.
Media interest in the crime spree has been building since thieves broke into Toyworld on Station Street, Seymour, on May 24 and May 26. Gaining entry by removing the front glass door, they stole a Lego stand valued at $10,000 before fleeing in a car.
Shelves stripped bare … Owner of Toyworld Seymour Werner Baumann, where a total of $15,000 of Lego was stolen. Photo: Justin McManus
The thieves once again removed the front glass door, and stole a further $5000 in Lego, mainly the Lego “City” and Lego “Technic” sets.
Owner of Seymour Toyworld, Werner Baumann, said the robbers were a highly organised and professional group targeting toy stores for Lego.
‘‘These people are very smart in what they’re doing,’’ he said.‘‘They understand how business works and how to break into places without leaving any evidence.’’
Mr Baumann said the thieves were ‘‘absolutely not locals’’, and that several other Toyworld franchises had also been robbed this year.
He said the offenders had stolen most of his Lego stock, leaving the country store with only 10 per cent ‘‘of what I usually have’’.
‘‘It will seriously impact my business, because Lego is a very good seller,’’ he said.
It is understood the first toy store to fall prey to Lego thieves was Toyworld in Macksville, in northern NSW, which was robbed twice in October and November.
Senior staff member Rowena Davies said the bandits came well prepared, breaking in through the rear of the store. “You have to go through someone’s backyard to get in, and they also came with an angle grinder to cut the thick bars on the door,” she said.