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A US man has been charged with stealing mountains of Lego bricks as part of a long-running scam. William Swanberg, 40, of Reno, Nevada, was indicted last week of pilfering Lego sets from Target stores across five western states worth an estimated $200,000. Prosecutors charge that Swanberg switched the bar codes on Lego boxes with cheaper labels before reselling his booty on the net.

Target noticed that multiple stores had sold expensive Legos at the wrong price and warned other stores to be on their guard. Swanberg was nabbed outside a Portland-area store 17 November, after allegedly short changing the store for 10 boxes of Star Wars Millennium Falcon Lego. Police found dozens of other Star Wars Lego sets, valued at $99 each, in his car along with the addresses of numerous Target stores in the Portland area, with routes between the shops carefully etched out using mapping software.

Investigators had to use a 20-foot truck to cart away tonnes of Lego bricks from Swanberg's house. According to Lego enthusiast's Web site, Bricklink.Com, Swanberg sold nearly $600,000 worth of Legos bricks since 2002, AP reports. ®

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