Your Title

WELLINGTON: New Zealand police said Thursday they have built a strong case against a pair of Lego-loving shoplifters, charged with stealing NZ$20,000 worth (US$12,000) of the popular toy.

The haul of brightly coloured interlocking plastic bricks was stolen, police said, in recent months from numerous stores across Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.

The thieves constructed an audacious way of pinching sets of the building blocks.

“In each instance, the alleged thieves brazenly created a diversion in the store by setting off the fire alarm,“ sergeant Karen Tabb said in a statement.

ALSO READ: M’sian couple robbed in Paris, thief steals valuables and buys McDonald’s with stolen credit card

A 45-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man have been charged with 30 counts of shoplifting.

The thieves also face charges under the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act, police said, for using fire alarms as a distraction.

A police team raided an address in South Auckland, where the pair were arrested and some of the stolen Lego was recovered, Tabb added.

Lego kits in New Zealand retail up to NZ$1,499 -- for a model of the popular Star Wars spaceship, the Millennium Falcon, which is made of 7,451 pieces.

Lego cemented its position as the world's biggest toymaker in 2023. The Danish toy giant posted results last month of US$9.6 billion, a record sum for the family company.

ALSO READ: Armed robbers loot US$2.2 mln from bank in India