Help! My entire LEGO collection was stolen!

Did you take my entire LEGO collection? Because somebody did.

If it wasn’t you, can you help me find the thief?

A list of sets, some photos of the collection, and media coverage appear at the very end of this post.

Read the follow-up post, with details on a $1200 reward

When did this happen?

Sometime after 12:00am ET on Aug 28 (when I got into bed) and 9:00am ET on Aug 28 (when I returned to my basement office) some person(s) invaded my home and relieved our basement of practically every piece of LEGO. And that’s it. Nothing else in our locked home, or unlocked garage, was touched. None of our expensive electronics (computers, monitors, microphones, etc.), none of my expensive camera equipment (body, lenses, lighting, etc.), none of my woodworking tools (table saw, mitre saw, drill press, router table, etc), or any other things of any kind.

It sure sounds like a prank. A very ill-conceived and poorly timed prank. That’s the explanation that makes the most sense of this situation. But nobody has stepped forward or returned anything.

[Minor addendum, after thinking more critically: most of the computer equipment, except for desk-mounted monitors and microphone, were on the main floor of the house with us; the camera equipment was hidden from sight; and the tools would have been very difficult to remove due to their size]

How did this happen?

I honestly can’t say. My family was home the entire day on Sunday, Aug 27. We had a few close friends over for lunch that day – people we’ve known for years and who depend on their credible reputation for their careers (and, before you ask, everybody is on the suspect list, including me). My boys and I played downstairs throughout the afternoon. The LEGO was fully present and accounted for throughout all of that. I was personally up and about the house until midnight, and then awake and out of bed again by 6:30am on Monday, Aug 28. Our house was locked when I went to bed, and again when I left for breakfast at 7am. My family was awake throughout the house from the time I left (7am) until 9am when I returned home and went downstairs. That means the break-in most likely occurred between 12:00am and 6:00am on Monday, Aug 28.

Someone came into my home. While we were sleeping. And removed nothing except thousands of dollars of LEGO. Small, rattly pieces of plastic. Either with a crew that should be large enough to be noticed, or with many trips up and down the stairs.

I want it all back, of course, but almost more than that I want to know how they did it. How did they get all of the drawers, parts, and sets out of our house without any of us hearing?

How much did they take?

Table with 9 bins and 316 drawers of sorted LEGO
The sorted collection. 316 bins of pieces separated by part type.

We’re still working on the total volume, but I know it was generally in the realm of “a lot”. Enough to fill two 18Gal storage bins, at least. The good news is, I have a good idea of which pieces and which sets went missing.

You see, I spent some time last summer sorting my childhood LEGO collection and putting it into small-parts drawers (see above). I had quite a few misc sets and figures that I then put on display across the top of those drawers. I also happened to take copious amount of photos of the process and some of the cooler sets that are now (that is, were) in our collection.

Back when I was still a teenager, my mother had the bright idea to round up all of my LEGO instruction booklets and put them into a folder, which eventually expanded to fill a full box. And the thief just so happened to leave ALL of the manual in the box on the floor.

Box of LEGO instruction booklets
My fine collection of un-stolen LEGO manuals

The real kicker, though, is that they took the sets that Katie and I were actively building! Rather large gifts that we had gotten each other recently. They took these partially-assembled sets and all of the pieces that I had just finished laying out and organizing into plastic dishes across a table in our basement.

Here’s what the table looked like yesterday:

Katie, building the LEGO Disney Castle
Katie, building the LEGO Disney Castle

And here’s what things look like now:

My office, stripped of LEGO
The space formerly known as “the LEGO table”
Table with just a few empty containers
Our stripped and barren table

Those vile rats even took all of the tupperware and an ice  tray that the pieces were sorted into! I mean, just look at all this tupperware!

Tupperware and such
All of our glorious containers, now AWOL along with the LEGO that was in them

How can someone help?

First, theft is covered under our home owner’s insurance policy, and we’re working through the proper channels to sort that out. We are actively working with the local police department on this active case.

Our collective hunch is that the sets are being sold off individually and the rest of the pieces sold in one or many bulk lots. The best way you can help is to keep your eyes peeled for used LEGO that’s up for sale. Maybe via Craigslist, maybe via Facebook, maybe via ebay, or pawn shops, or elsewhere. The seller is probably going to list them within a couple hundred miles of Grandville, MI (49418).

Which sets are missing?

We’re working on a list of that and I’ll update this post accordingly as more info becomes available. Until then, below is a short list of the assembled sets and loose minifigs that we know were taken.

Any leads?

Please either contact the Grandville Police directly via 616-538-6110 or GVPD@cityofgrandville.com or email me privately. My email address is my first name at this domain.

Thanks!

How about some more photos?

Sure thing, here’s a partial gallery documenting some of the sets and parts!

Media Coverage

So far this story has been covered by Inside the Magic, the Miami Herald, and Fox 17 news (WXMI) in Grand Rapids.