An executive at a Palo Alto software company has been caught fraudulently switching barcodes for LEGO sets at Target stores and turning them around for a profit on eBay.
The Mountain View Voice reports Thomas Langenbach, vice president of SAP Labs, LLC., was charged with four counts of theft after he was seen on Target security cameras "ticket switching." It was revealed Langenbach has sold $30,000 worth of good on eBay -- most LEGO sets -- and 193 items were still for sale from "Tom's Brickyard" at the time of his May 8 arrest.
Watch this KRON4 report on the theft:
According to Mountain View Voice, when police searched his multi-million dollar home and vehicle, they found many unopened LEGO sets and baggies of fraudulent barcode stickers.
Here's an example of how Langenbach would allegedly obtain items for a cheaper price, which he reportedly told police he learned through YouTube:
On April 20, Langenbach allegedly entered the Cupertino store at 20745 Stevens Creek Blvd. and purchased two LEGO kits. He added a barcode sticker for $24.99 to a kit valued at $69.99, and a second sticker for $49.99 to a kit valued at $119, Wylie said. That same day he allegedly switched barcodes on two LEGO products at the Mountain View store: one for $49.99 valued at $139.99 and another for $19.99 on a product valued at $59.99.
He allegedly switched labels on two LEGO products at the store near his home, valued at $89.99 and $279.98 on April 26. On May 1, he again went to the Mountain View store, purchasing a set valued at $59.99 for $19.99, Wylie said.
In addition to fraudulently obtaining LEGO sets for a cheaper price, Langenbach appears to also really enjoy the products himself. According to Mountain View Voice the police also found many drawers of LEGO bricks organize by color.
Langenback told police he didn't intend to steal the items but merely wanted to see if what he learned through a YouTube video on switching barcodes would work. When he was found outside of the store with the item he purchased with the fake barcode, he said he had forgotten to switch it back. The authorities are investigating the hundreds of sets -- some limited edition -- found at his home to see if they were obtained at a cheaper price.
Mercury News reports the district attorney saying she didn't think money was the objective for Langenback:
"Money might have been a part of what brought him pleasure, but I think all indications are there's something way more complex here," Hendrickson said. "Remember, he's going out and paying for these things. This is something that he did in a painstaking way, and it took time, it took effort and it took expense. I don't think you do that just for the money. There had to be something else. Beating the system? An element of compulsion?" supervising deputy district attorney Cindy Hendrickson said.
"I think it seems clear he took some enjoyment from having Legos around. But I think he also obviously had way more than any one human could possibly enjoy on their own in a legally acceptable way."
Langenbach is scheduled for a hearing on June 10.