Thomas Langenbach, a VP at software giant SAP's Palo Alto lab, has been convicted of running an elaborate scam to steal LEGO toys from local Target stores. It is quite possibly the white collar-iest of all white collar crimes.
Langenbach printed up fake barcodes that would make expensive LEGO sets ring up at lower prices at the register. Having purchased the toys at a discount, he'd then flip them for profit on eBay under the name "tomsbrickyard." As if this weren't already the geekiest crime story, the most expensive LEGO sets are all Star Wars-themed. He paid only $49 for a $279 Millennium Falcon model (Nerd alert: it's also the biggest retail LEGO model ever). Those sets are currently going for over $3,500 on Amazon.
All told, Langenbach made more than $30,000 by selling over 2,100 sets out of his multimillion dollar home in San Carlos. Lagenbach was finally brought down last year when Target's crack team of investigators caught him on camera swapping out the barcodes. A search of his car turned up eight ziploc bags of the fake barcode stickers.
His defense attorney Geoffrey Carr tried to argue that Langenbach wasn't trying to make money, but only attempting to test out some software his company had made. Apparently, arguing that your client's company is engaged in creating price-scamming software is not a very good defense. Langenbach now faces at least a month in jail and three years of probation.
At his home, authorities also found many of his own sets he had built, proving he was also a fan of the noted building blocks. He will have plenty of time to play with those during the five months of house arrest he'll have to serve as part of his sentence.
[Full disclosure: your author admits to having a severe case of LEGO Mania as a youth.]
Previously: Silicon Valley Software Exec Busted For Embezzling LEGOs