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Multimillionaire Software Exec Arrested in LEGO-Thieving Bar-Code Scam

Illustration for article titled Multimillionaire Software Exec Arrested in LEGO-Thieving Bar-Code Scam

Ah, power. You give a person too much and they will abuse it. Such is the case with Thomas Langenbach, a 47-year-old VP at Palo Alto-based software company SAP Labs, who has been arrested for the nerdiest crime in recent memory. His abuse of power: computer skill-based.

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It is reported that Langenbach had been using his computer savvy to reproduce bar code stickers, the kind Target uses to price their items, which he placed over the original bar codes so he could purchase LEGO at a lower cost.

The multimillionaire software exec sold the LEGO sets on eBay, under the username TomsBrickYard. (For whatever it's worth, he is a top-rated seller with excellent feedback.) His seller page shows 1,475 completed sales in all, with the most recent feedback left today and the earliest dating back to May 1, 2011.

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NBC Bay Area reports that Langebach's home, at 8 Sudan Lane in San Carlos, CA, was searched by the police, who found "hundreds and hundreds" of LEGO boxes inside.

Mr. Langenbach is expected to be arraigned tomorrow in Santa Clara County court; the official charge is four counts of burglary. It is not immediately known whether he used company computers and/or software, at any point, to facilitate the scam. [BetaBeat - Image via Lego.com]

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DISCUSSION

Rampage_Rick
Rampage_Rick

Doesn't everybody do this? I mean, back when satellite PVRs first hit the market it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you could take the barcode from a $99 basic satellite receiver and stick it on the box for a $500 PVR...

A little app generated valid barcodes, some Photoshop to make the barcodes look similar, and bang em out on Avery labels. Also worked on some bookshelves; get the 6-shelf units for the price of a 2-shelf.

Of course this was before satellite piracy really took off and they started recording serial numbers at point of purchase. Heck, back in the day you could buy a 2-pack of receivers at Home Depot.

(For anyone worried about me, there's a 6-month statue of limitations for minor offences in Canada; this happened over a decade ago. Plus I was a minor at the time...)