Silicon Valley Executive Arraigned In Bar Code Scam

Thomas Langenbach allegedly manufactured his own barcode tags, to steal Legos.

May 23, 2012 — Thomas Langenbach, the vice president of SAPS Labs Integration and Certification Center, was arraigned yesterday on four counts of second-degree burglary.  Langenbach, 47, allegedly manufactured his own barcodes to slap on boxes of Lego toys at Target Stores all over Santa Clara County, California.  He would then resell the toys, which range in price from anywhere between $15 and $279.

Langenbach sold 2100 boxes of Legos on eBay before he was arrested, according to information provided by the resale giant.  He made close to $30,000, selling the toys above cost.

Thomas Langenbach made his own barcodes to steal Legos

Langenbach is arraigned after bringing his own barcode labels to California Target stores. (Image via

The investigation was opened in April, after Target’s Loss Prevention department noticed discrepancies in Lego prices.  Store footage led investigators to Langenbach’s name, credit information, and eBay account.  After reviewing sales logs from the past year, authorities notified California Target stores of their suspicions.  On May 8, Langenbach walked into a Target store in Mountain View, California, and was placed under immediate surveillance.  Video shows the executive placing his own bar code labels on products, and police found sheets of barcode labels in his car.

What’s confusing, however, is the motive.  As Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson told ABC, “Mr. Langenbach is a VP of a successful company, living in a nice home and making money gainfully and in his free time creating false barcodes and going into Target stores and stealing Legos.”  Langenbach didn’t need the extra 30K, and if convicted, may face up to five years in prison.

– R. Fogel