A man in Southeast Portland was arrested Thursday after investigators discovered he was soliciting the theft of Legos and selling them online for a large profit. 40-year-old Raji Afife Azar had such a large stash of Legos in his home it lined parts of his driveway. Azar was jailed Thursday and released on his own recognizance.
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He was arraigned Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court on over two dozen felony charges. When Azar was initially taken into custody, police served a search warrant at his family's home in the 2000 block of 102 Avenue. Portland police with the help of Fred Meyers investigators estimated the value of the recovered Legos and other toys stolen from their store alone is about $50,000.
Detectives accuse Azar of running a fencing operation where he would solicit thefts through websites like Craigslist and OfferUp. These websites work like want ads and Azar used them to arrange for the purchase of stolen items. Drug addicts and thieves would sell the stolen items to Azar for a low price and Azar would sell them online at a much larger profit.
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Portland police arrested Azar after making a transaction he arranged with undercover investigators who were pretending to be thieves. Fred Meyer Organized Retail Theft investigators discovered Azar wast at the head of the operation early this year. Records show he lives with his parents who he cares for and his sister. Charges against him include aggravated first-degree theft, first-degree theft, laundering a monetary instrument and computer crime.
Portland police spokesman Jim Ryan said, "Investigators remind anyone purchasing items from a non-retail location to be aware of items sold as 'new' or in unopened packages with prices that seem too good to be true - the items may be stolen."
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