The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has announced that a LEGO trafficking operation was broken up “brick by brick” after a local shop owner was caught re-selling stolen sets worth thousands of dollars.
The investigation was dubbed “Operation: MandalOrganized Retail Theft” because Lego sets inspired by the Disney+ Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” were the most frequently stolen. Trafficking in stolen property is a class B felony in Washington State, the maximum penalty for which is 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine, or both.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney on Wednesday charged Mark Steven Brady, 67, with one count of trafficking in stolen property for allegedly reselling stolen merchandise at his store, Rummage Around. Brady told NBC News on Friday he had not been arraigned yet and that his court-appointed lawyer had not yet contacted him, but declined further comment.
The SPD said they began to investigate after Amazon 4-Star, an in-person store owned by the online retail giant, reported in July they had been the target of repeated thefts. Between July and September, one thief (whom SPD called “the prolific shoplifter”) allegedly stole an estimated $10,000 worth of sets and electronics from the store, according to a criminal complaint.
— My World of TOYS (@capecoraldwells) September 8, 2021
It wasn’t until September when an employee from Amazon 4-Star entered Rummage Around, a store in downtown’s Pike Place Market, and noticed that the Lego sets for sale seemed to match the sets stolen from Amazon. After receiving a search warrant on Oct. 15, authorities raided Rummage Around and recovered numerous electronics and 171 Lego sets, 34 of which were confirmed stolen from Amazon 4-Star and valued at over $2,000.
A LEGO trafficking operation in Seattle involving stolen sets from Marvel and more has been stopped with help from Star Wars 75318 The Child #LEGO #LEGOStarWars #StarWars #TheMandalorian https://t.co/cf4KuGPzDi pic.twitter.com/DpU8nJRhhp
— Brick Fanatics (@BrickFanatics) October 23, 2021
Police say their October sting investigation, which involved plainclothes detectives selling marked merchandise to Brady, revealed that the shop owner allegedly knew he was buying stolen goods to resell. But police have been unable to detain the “prolific shoplifter” who detectives accused of stealing the $10,000 in merchandise.
Police Recover Stolen Star Wars LEGO Sets in Operation: MandalOrganized Retail Theft https://t.co/i1bATJucTR
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) October 18, 2021