Police arrest man for stealing $10,000 worth of Lego bricks
Jun 21, 2023, 3:54 PM | Updated: 9:40 pm
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A Utah detective fit the pieces together to solve the case of the Lego caper.
Taylorsville police arrested a man for allegedly stealing $10,000 worth of Lego toys across multiple Target stores in Salt Lake County and Utah County. They said 31-year-old Devon Engard stole Lego products from six different locations about 23 times starting in March through June 15, 2023.
“He usually picks around the closing time when he walks into the store, and he’s in and out within two minutes,” explained Detective Braydon Hamatake with the Taylorsville Police Department.
Hamatake said Engard would mostly steal Harry Potter-themed Lego products. He said the suspect would have a different getaway driver each time.
“I don’t know who the people are that are driving him around because they would never leave the car, they could sit out in the car in front of the Target and wait for him,” the detective said.
Hamatake said by putting building blocks together, he figured out the suspect is Devon Engard. He said he’s homeless and has been arrested for theft before.
“He was wearing the same sweatshirt in most of the incident. He had facial hair that I was able to identify him from the mugshots,” he said.
Hamatake said the facts were stacked against Engard. He figured out the suspect was stealing the toys to resell them.
“The original price, MSRP, on most of these, are probably about $180, and he was selling them for $60, so it’s a pretty big jump,” Hamatake said. “A couple of red flags, but other people wouldn’t know it’s been stolen.”
Hamatake went to the online classifieds, found Engard’s ads, and pretended to be an interested buyer.
“When I told him I was interested in the Legos, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you this price,'” he recalled. “He says, ‘I’ve got a couple more sets as well if you would like,'”. I told him, ‘Bring them with you, and I’ll take a look.'”
That’s when Engard was taken into custody.
“He was surprised when he saw cops converge on him,” Hamatake said. “He looked like he wanted to run.”
Hamatake said Engard is charged with theft and a pattern of unlawful activity.
“He denied all the allegations against him,” Hamatake said.
Hamatake said thefts like these are no game to law enforcement or stores.
“Most of the retailers right now want to make sure their employees are safe, which I agree with, so they don’t go hands-on with suspects,” he said. “There’s always surveillance that we can identify the suspect and follow up later on.”
Engard is in jail now that the pieces of his case have been put together
As a thank you for stopping the stealing, Target gave Hamatake a Lego cake.
He’s still investigating this case. He’s trying to identify the drivers of the suspect’s getaway cars, and he’s trying to figure out who Engard’s victims were. He said no Lego bricks have been recovered.
It was later determined that the suspect was involved in 23 incidents at stores from Salt Lake to Utah counties. Det. Hamatake was able to identify the suspect, who was booked into jail last night. Target was so appreciative of Det. Hamatake's work that they made him a Lego cake.
— TVPDUtah (@TVPDUtah) June 21, 2023