A mother and son stole more than $2m (€1.6m) in expensive toys by stashing them inside the boxes of cheaper products they bought at Toys R Us stores across the US, authorities say.
Florida police allege that Michael and Margaret Pollara then sold the expensive items online, according to an arrest affidavit. They were arrested in Broward County last Thursday and face a bevy of theft charges. Both remain in jail, and it is not clear if either has an attorney.
Michael and Margaret Pollara visited 139 Toys R Us in 27 states, including California, Hawaii, and New York, buying nearly $7,000 worth of cheaper items to fuel their scam.
Authorities were able to track Michael Pollara’s buys across the country because he used a Toys R Us rewards card for all of his purchases. Authorities said the Pollaras searched shops looking for inexpensive toys that came in large boxes.
They then emptied out the contents and filled the large box with more expensive toys, including $150 Lego sets.
The pair would hide the cheap contents somewhere around the shop and pay for the inexpensive, large box filled with more expensive goodies.
Margaret, 70, often worked as a lookout, according to the arrest report.
Authorities tracked the two for months, watching them allegedly steal from various stores around Florida and later ship packages filled with toys.
Michael, 46, had more than $900,000 in eBay and PayPal accounts.
Authorities began following the two in May after a Toys R Us employee in South Florida noticed that several large Lego boxes were missing, even though she had seen them on the shelf earlier that morning. CCTV footage shows Michael Pollara carrying the Lego box in the toy aisle, but the video did not show him actually removing the contents.
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