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EUGENE, Ore. (KEZI) — At least 4,153 stolen Lego sets — valued at more than $200,000 — have been recovered after a months-long organized crime investigation revealed that a store owner knowingly purchased the sets from suspected thieves, according to Springfield police.

A Springfield police spokesman said 47-year-old Ammon Henrikson will face at least one count of organized shoplifting after knowingly purchasing stolen Lego sets from suspects who stole them from Springfield and Eugene-area stores such as Target on Gateway, Walmart, Barnes and Noble and Fred Meyer.

Albert Nash, an alleged partner and employee of Henrikson, also faces charges related to the retail crime raid.

Henrikson owns the Brick Builders toy and Lego store in Eugene. Sergeant Kyle Potter, who heads the Springfield Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit, said the investigation into the alleged thefts took three months. During the investigation, police officers witnessed suspected shoplifters leaving a retail store after stealing expensive Lego sets and going straight to Brick Builders.

“We saw people walking into the store with Lego and walking out with cash in their hands,” he said. “At that point, we stopped people, talked to them, and they told us exactly what they had done.”

He said many of the suspects investigators spoke to after the alleged money-trading operation were unhappy with the compensation they received for the stolen devices.

“They were usually unhappy with the amount of cash they were getting and when we spoke to them they said it was only a fraction of what it was actually worth!” Potter said.

After working with the victims of the alleged retail crime – well-known retailers – the Crime Reduction Unit identified stolen items at Brick Builders.

On July 3, a search warrant was executed.

“We took our CMU and waited for the store to open, showed the store owners the search warrants and went in and searched the store. We found over 4,000 boxes of stolen Legos,” Potter said.

Potter said Henrikson knowingly purchased the stolen Lego sets, and another Springfield police officer confirmed that Henrikson may have directed the suspects to purchase specific Lego sets from retail stores.

Potter said the majority of the suspects went directly from Brick Builders to their drug dealers to purchase illegal drugs.

Justin Williams is visiting from Fort Worth, Texas, and was passing by Brick Builders on Tuesday when he heard news of the massive raid.

“I mean, shoplifting is out of control across the country, I never thought Legos would play a role in that,” he said. “That tells me something about the leniency in punishing people who shoplift and resell their goods to stores that know about it. They need to be cracked down on, taken more seriously and there need to be tougher consequences,” he said.

“I was particularly surprised by the amount of Legos, but what surprised me most was the theft in the city’s major retail stores in general,” Potter said.

When asked how local law enforcement will continue the ongoing fight against organized retail crime, Potter said it all comes down to commitment.

“The most important thing is that we get involved. The Springfield Police Department is not going to stop,” he said. “We are going to continue this fight, and we are going to do it with the retailers in the community who are willing to help us.”

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