Toys “R” Us Scam: Mother and Son Steal $2 Million in Toys

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Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg / via Getty Images

Inside A Toys R Us Inc Store

Michael Pollara got a few unexpected goodies that came with his Toys “R” Us rewards card, such as an arrest for allegedly stealing more than $2 million in toys from the nationwide retailer.

Pollara and his mother, Margaret, were arrested in Florida after allegedly visiting 139 Toys “R” Us stores in 27 states and putting expensive items into large boxes containing inexpensive goods. The two remain in jail on multiple theft charges.

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Store executives say that while the 70-year-old Margaret served as a lookout, Michael, 46, would find a cheap item in a large box, remove it and hide it somewhere in the store. He’d then stash expensive goods in the box—Leapster Pads at $99 each, electronic toothbrushes or pricey Lego sets worth up to $150, reports CBS Miami—and check out, paying the price for what was supposed to be in the box. Authorities say that the less expensive items cost the pair about $7,000, but they made more than $2 million by reselling the big-ticket products on eBay.

After a South Florida employee noticed a couple of Lego boxes go missing during a shift in May, officials checked the surveillance video and found Michael moving the boxes from the shelf. Since then, authorities have followed the pair from store to store—tracking their movements through the Toys “R” Us rewards card Michael used to make all his purchases.

And they’ve certainly been worth following. The Pollaras ventured as far as California, North Dakota, New York and even Hawaii on their shopping spree, logging nearly 8,000 miles.

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3 comments
chrisplumb
chrisplumb

Cleaver?  This is the oldest shoplifting method in the world.  And they used a rewards card with their name each time?  What's surprising is how long it took Toys R Us to figure it out.  Looks like someone needs a new Loss Prevention coordinator.  

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

They should be incarcerated for a couple of decades in a prison constructed entirely from Legos.