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SAP exec accused of faking bar codes to steal Legos

A multi-millionaire exec at SAP Labs in Palo Alto allegedly created his own bar codes in order to buy Lego at very, very cheap prices from Target.

At Target, you're supposed to build fun on top of fun, not put barcodes on top of barcodes.
Taget Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If there are spelling mistakes in this post, it's because I am continually shaking my head as I write.

For I would like to relay the tale told by authorities on the subject of Thomas Langenbach.

They allege that Langenbach, a multi-millionaire VP at SAP Labs Integration and Certification Center attempted to certify certain bar codes without integrity.

He stands accused of creating his own bar codes, wafting along to Target, switching the bar codes on Lego items, and then buying them at drastically reduced prices.

I am indebted beyond price to NBC Bay Area for bringing me this story and delaying my dinner.

NBC quotes Liz Wylie, a spokeswoman for the Mountain View, Calif., police, as saying: "This probably happens more often than you'd think."

But I didn't think it happened at all. Perhaps I didn't imagine that software execs might be so bored, so fascinated with science, or so allegedly nefarious in order to attempt such a maneuver.

It seems that Target's security people sniffed that something might be awry with Langenbach's Lego purchases -- three at the Mountain View store and one in Cupertino.

Target reportedly pays extra attention to Lego purchases because they're so expensive. The definition of expensive is, indeed, a subjective one. For the total amount that Langenbach is alleged to have pilfered is no more than $1,000.

However, the whole thing begins to reverberate along the axis between amusing and macabre when you hear that when police searched his home, they managed to turn up Lego boxes in their hundreds.

As if reading a tale written by David Foster Wallace, they then discovered that he'd allegedly sold 2,100 Legos items on eBay, netting $30,000.

Oh, and the police also claim they unearthed 32 not entirely legitimate barcode stickers in his car.

Police are still trying to work out how much of his Lego he may have legitimately owned and how much might have been illicitly bar-coded.

What seems clear, though, in this era of falsified educational qualifications, is that he has a degree in computer science and business administration from Berufsakademie Mannheim in Germany.