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Thomas Langenbach, Silicon Valley tech executive, arrested in Lego toy bar code scheme

In 1949 a Danish toy company named LEGO (from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" (or "play well") introduced its plastic LEGO Automatic Binding Brick, featuring four and eight studs. Today the company based in the town of Billund produced 19 billion LEGO elements every year. Both the British Association of Toy Retailers and Fortune magazine have called the little plastic bricks the "Toy of the Century." Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Lego toy building bricks. Langenbach allegedly sold his discounted Legos on Ebay.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) San Jose, Calif. - Thomas Langenbach, a Silicon Valley tech executive, now faces charges after authorities say he put fake bar codes on hundreds of Lego sets at various Target stores so he could buy the toys at steeply discounted prices. He then sold them online for thousands of dollars in profits.

Langenbach, 47, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday on four counts of burglary.

Authorities say Langenbach covered over the original bar codes with his own bar-code stickers to get a cheaper price.

Investigators found hundreds of Lego sets at his posh San Carlos home and learned he made thousands of dollars selling the pilfered sets of colorful toy bricks on eBay under the name "tomsbrickyard."

Langenbach was found with eight baggies of bar code stickers were found in his car, police said.

He was already under surveillance by Target security officers who suspected him of the scheme when they spotted him at the chain's store in Mountain View on May 8. After he completed his purchases using the bogus bar codes, the store called the police. Langenbach was then arrested, authorities said.

"They had recognized him when he walked in the store and had seen him on camera actually sticking bar-code stickers on to items," Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie told KNTV-TV.

Langenbach works for German software giant SAP. His LinkedIn profile lists him as a vice president in a Northern California division. Attempts to reach Langenbach, who is free on bail, were unsuccessful.


  • Crimesider Staff

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