Lego scammer sentence: 30 days in prison, at-home custody

Thomas Langenbach to serve 30 days in county jail and five months at-home custody

A former Palo Alto tech industry vice president was sentenced by a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Thursday, Sept. 5, to six months in custody for switching price tags on boxes of Legos.

Thomas Langenbach was sentenced to 30 days in county jail and five months of supervised electronic monitoring at home for one felony count of commercial burglary for pasting false bar-code labels on boxes of Legos at two Target stores.

His term will be reduced by four days for time served. He must turn himself in to the court on Sept. 16 to serve 26 days of his jail term, Judge Vincent J. Chiarello ruled in the Palo Alto courthouse. He will also be required to pay restitution and various court fees.

Langenbach, 48, was originally charged with four counts of commercial burglary, which could have netted him up to five years in prison. The court approved a plea deal to a single count on July 29. He had been "ticket switching" Lego boxes since April 20, 2012, at the Mountain View and Cupertino Target stores and another Target near his San Carlos home, according to police.

He went into four Target stores on three different dates and purchased the toys at greatly lowered prices. He switched the tags with ones he created on his computer, according to a criminal complaint by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office. He was arrested on May 8, 2012, when store security identified him from a surveillance photo and followed him out of the store after once of the incidents.

During sentencing, Langenbach asked the court for approval to take his children to school and to extracurricular activities while on the five-month electronic-monitoring. He also asked to leave home to work out at the gym. Judge Chiarello approved taking the children to school and activities, but he denied Langenbach any personal gym visits.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

This is essentially a shoplifting case, right? How often do shoplifters get jail sentences like this?

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Posted by Wes
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

I don't know the stats, but my young & dumb nephew got similar time on actual shoplifting charges. Seems like they went easy for a burglary conviction.

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Posted by O. Henry
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:31 am

30 days? I wonder what he'll do to pass the time. If only he had some Legos.

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Posted by Grandpa
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Creating phony bar codes on a computer is not simple shoplifiting, and it wasn't done by a juvenile. The guy just figured he could get away with it. Who knows what else he did or would have done. There should be consequences for that kind of behavior.

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Posted by CopperC
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Poor reporting. He was a) unemployed b) doing this over and over. Other news reports say "Langenbach made more than $30,000 selling Legos on eBay, where he did business under the seller name “Tomsbrickyard." His former job is not all that relevant.

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Posted by timo
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:05 am

If his last name was Sanchez or Gonzalez he probably would have got the five years. U know he only asked for "gym time " as a way of mocking the system. He'll do it again, of that u can be sure, but he'll be more cautious next time by going farther away to different stores. The justice system is everything but just.

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