Train photography may have been the motive for alleged Legomaniacs.

Aside from their intrinsic value as entertaining and educational toys, there has been a growing interest in Lego brand blocks as a lucrative investment, given sets’ relatively low fungibility. Unfortunately this has also made them targets for thieves.

That recently became a problem for one toy store inside a mall in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward. The store had was repeatedly the victim of a shoplifter who took several toys but mainly focused on the world-famous blocks, thus earning him the nickname “Lego Kid” among the staff.

But as with any repeat offender, it’s only a matter of time before they get caught. On 24 June, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police took the alleged Lego Kid, 24-year-old Naoto Daitoku, into custody for the theft of 12 toys on the evening of 16 December, 2021. It’s unclear how law enforcement was able to finally track down the Lego Kid, but they also arrested two accomplices aged 19 and 17.

▼ A news report on the arrest

Daitoku and the 17-year-old suspect have denied the charges of shoplifting the 55,000 yen (US$400) worth of toys, saying they “don’t remember.” However, the 19-year-old is said to be cooperating with police and reportedly admitted that all three of them stole the goods and sold everything afterwards.

One of the suspects also told investigators that the three of them became acquainted through being fellow “toritetsu” a subset of train otaku who enjoy taking photographs of rolling stock. This revelation no doubt comes as another blow to the much maligned toritetsu community, members of which appear to be regularly implicated in acts of violence, trespassing, and generally rude behavior.

In fact, a majority of the comments online seemed to focus on the suspect’s involvement in train photography, which is surprising since we’re talking about the LEGO KID here!

“Just when you thought the reputation of toritetsu couldn’t get any worse.”
“He stole to fund his…train photography addiction?”
“‘The Lego Kid (24)’ LOL!!!”
“It’s embarrassing enough being a 24-year-old who steals Lego, but he’s a toritetsu on top of it all?”
“What’s wrong with you if you’re compelled to steal in order to take pictures of trains?”
“At least that’s three more toritetsu off the platforms.”
“‘Lego Kid’ sounds like a super rare collectable.”
“Just being given that nickname is punishment enough.”

It’s sad that it’s come to this, but as a parent myself I’m urging all the other moms and dads out there to look for any signs that your kids might be getting into train photography. Train schedules laying about the house or casual mentions of “composition” are some definite red flags. If you happen to see them, be sure to seek help before it’s too late and your kid becomes the Lego Kid.

Source: TV Asahi News, Mainichi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: ©SoraNews24
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