Police recover $200k while busting up LEGO laundering scheme
Phoenix, AZ (KTVK) — Police have arrested four people accused of running a scheme to steal expensive Lego sets from Toys R Us stores around the Valley, in Arizona.
Garry Fairbee, 35, Tarah Dailey, 33, Melissa Dailey, 34 and Troy Koehler, 40 have been arrested. Melissa and Tarah are cousins.
They’re each facing one or more of these charges: Organized retail theft, trafficking in stolen property, fraudulent schemes, and illegal control of an enterprise.
Police were working on the case for more than four months.
Detectives used surveillance video to identify Fairbee and Tarah Dailey after they allegedly stole high-dollar Lego play sets, worth $99.99 or more, from various stores and selling them for a profit.
They are accused of removing the theft detection devices from the Lego sets, causing damage to the packaging. In most incidents, they put the Lego sets in either large gift bags and then in shopping carts, or inside shopping carts and then covered with the gift bags. The suspects would then flee the business without setting off the security alarm.
Detectives followed the suspects and discovered they were selling the stolen property to Troy Koehler.
Police said Koehler was selling Lego sets on the Internet. He would also return them to Toys R Us stores for a refund.
On Thursday evening, detectives followed Fairbee and Melissa Dailey to the area of 2700 West Bell Rd. where they observed the suspects sell stolen Legos to Koehler.
Police served search warrants on the residences of Fairbee and Koehler, and storage lockers belonging to Koehler. In all, approximately 18 pallets of Legos, were recovered from Koehler’s property and storage lockers.
It is estimated that the recovered Legos have a retail value of around $200,000 of which at least $40,000 is believed to have been stolen. The rest of the Legos may have been purchased legitimately, or obtained fraudulently. Evidence from this investigation shows only $40,000 in stolen merchandise.
“It never ceases to amaze me the length that people will go through to get their money,” said Officer James Holmes with the Phoenix Police Dept. ” I know that Mr. Koehler has a legitimate job, nice home and he makes a decent living without having to do this type of a crime.”
Holmes said detectives believe more people may have been involved in the criminal operation