A security officer at a Mountain View, Calif., Target store detained Thomas Langenbach, vice president at software company SAP Labs in Palo Alto, for allegedly placing homemade bar code stickers on a box of Legos May 8.
Target loss prevention officers had been keeping an eye out for Langenbach for about a month at four Bay area stores after he showed an unusual interest in the bar codes on boxes of Lego collectors sets, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"He was going back to the same store, to different stores, then had to package them up, post them on eBay and send them out," said Cindy Hendrickson, a supervising deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County.
Langenbach sold the Legos on eBay from his $2 million San Carlos home -- making about $30,000 through the sales since April 2011, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
"I don't think it's money," Hendrickson said. "Money might have been a part of what brought him pleasure, but I think all indications are there's something way more complex here.
"This is something that he did in a painstaking way, and it took time, it took effort and it took expense. I don't think you do that just for the money. There had to be something else. Beating the system? An element of compulsion?" she said.