Troy Koehler (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Melissa Dailey, 34, Garry Fairbee, 35, and Tarah Dailey, 33
Legos police recovered from the Peoria home. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
The $250,000 in Legos were found in this Peoria home. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PEORIA, AZ (CBS5) -
Phoenix police say they've broken up an elaborate Lego toy theft operation.
More than $250,000 worth of Legos were found in the garage of a Peoria home, according to investigators.
Authorities spent 10 hours on Friday taking the toys out by the truckload.
Valley realtor Troy Koehler, 40, has been arrested, and now faces an assortment of criminal charges.
Police believe that Koehler was buying expensive Lego sets at a discount from shoplifters, then reselling the items over the internet.
Neighbors told CBS 5 News they were aware that Koehler sold toys as a side job, but never imagined they might be stolen.
"It does surprise me, but they've always been kind of suspicious," said neighbor Dominic Puccia. "He would have late-night phone calls and he'd be out for hours, past midnight just talking on the phone and we didn't know why."
Police said Koehler would recruit people to go into "Toys R Us" stories across the Valley and steal the Legos, but they would damage the boxes in the process.
They would take the Legos to Koehler who would go inside the store and buy a legitimate box. Then he would use that real receipt to take back the damaged box, pocketing the money and then selling the stolen Legos online to collectors for top dollar.
Garry Fairbee, 35, Melissa Dailey, 34, and Tarah Dailey, 33, face felony charges for aiding Koehler in the retail theft.
Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said in his 30 years on the force, he's never seen anything like this.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
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