Police: Repeat Lego bandit strikes again at Aventura sporting goods store

AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Police from two South Florida agencies said a thief with a penchant for stealing Lego blocks may have struck again, this time at a sporting goods store in Aventura.

Surveillance video from May 17 shows the subject walking out of the Dick’s Sporting Goods at 18499 Biscayne Boulevard with an inflatable kayak that, police said, he did not purchase.

Now authorities are hoping to sink this toy bandit’s plans of ripping off area businesses.

“People that do this, the first time they get away with it, they think it’s easy and they can do it again,” said Aventura Police Maj. Michael Bentolila, “and as you can see, he’s fairly brazen.”

Investigators said this thief is also suspected in a string of Lego robberies in Coral Gables.

“Both detectives from Coral Gables and Aventura got in contact and started working together to see if we were dealing with the same individual,” said Bentolila. “We’re both under the belief that this is the same individual.”

Security footage from the Barnes & Noble on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables shows the subject walking out with unpaid-for Lego sets on three separate occasions.

In terms of what the theft of an inflatable kayak has to do with swiped Lego boxes, Bentolila said, “I don’t know what the nexus is with those two, but yeah, for some reason he’s into Legos and an inflatable kayak.”

Police said they are looking to question Edward Antonio De La Vega in connection to the string of thefts.

Bentolila said he hopes De La Vega surrenders to authorities. “We know who you are, and it’s only a matter of time, so the best thing to do would be to turn yourself in and just get it out of the way,” he said.

Police said surveillance cameras have also captured a second male subject whom they believe acts as a lookout for the suspect.

“These items aren’t cheap. The Legos, each time he does one of these hits, upwards of $500, you know?” said Bentolila. “The kayak itself was also a felony amount so, again, to me it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a kayak or widgets. It’s a crime. Theft is a crime; either way, we’re gonna get you.”

If you have any information on these store thefts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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