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SAP VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme 535

Posted by timothy
from the always-use-bitcoins-for-lego-arbitrage dept.
redletterdave writes "With barcode scanning being so commonplace, nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Thomas Langenbach, the vice president of SAP, was found scanning boxes upon boxes of Lego toys before purchasing them. Little did anyone know, the 47-year-old Silicon Valley executive was actually engaged in a giant scam. Langenbach would visit several Target stores and cover the store's barcodes with his own, so when he would bring the boxes up to the register, Langenbach would pay a heavily-discounted price. For example, this tag swapping allowed him to buy a Millennium Falcon box of Legos worth $279 for just $49. Once he bought the discounted Lego boxes, the SAP executive would take to eBay (under the name 'tomsbrickyard') and sell the items. Langenbach reportedly sold more than 2,000 items on eBay, raking in about $30,000. He was finally caught by Target security on May 8, and he was arraigned on Tuesday on four counts of burglary."
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SAP VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme

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  • He was too ambitious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:32AM (#40086635) Homepage Journal
    I see old women do this all of the time. Not making their own barcodes, mind you, but swapping the code from the seeded cucumbers to the unseeded ones, or switch the tag from a generic bible and put it onto the fancy one they have their eye on. I wish I wasn't serious.
    • by Scutter (18425)

      I see old women do this all of the time. Not making their own barcodes, mind you, but swapping the code from the seeded cucumbers to the unseeded ones, or switch the tag from a generic bible and put it onto the fancy one they have their eye on. I wish I wasn't serious.

      I see this all too frequently myself. Yes, even the bible one. The irony of someone stealing a bible is not lost on me, either.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I worked in retail and we caught a nun stealing.

        I think there are thieves and then there are people who are actually sick.

        • there are people who are actually sick.

          Yeah, we recently had a shoplifting MP here in Australia, forbidden fruit and all that...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fahrbot-bot (874524)

          Sadly, both groups may work on Wall Street: Capitalists and Other Psychopaths [nytimes.com].

          Note that there are numerous objections to this opinion piece (probably by other Wall Street psychopaths - ha!) for using under-representative source data and an incorrect interpretation of that data - even after a correction to the article - and those objections may all be accurate, but the article somehow seems at least plausible anyway, if you ask me.

      • by localman57 (1340533) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:56AM (#40087005)
        What I find funny is the irony of the copyright notice in the front of the bibles and hymnals. Jesus says "Spread the Good News!" The United Methodist Publishing Company says "No part of this may be reproduced without our permission." It's actually on the very first page with any significant text, before any of the scripture itself.
      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:22AM (#40087459) Homepage Journal

        My pastor got a laugh out of the congregation last year (the guy could make a killing as a stand-up comedian if he wasn't a preacher) when he was encouraging the congregation to read "Wierd: because normal isn't working". He said "somebody stole my copy. Stealing from a preacher? You know that book is good!"

      • by n7ytd (230708) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:20AM (#40088491)

        I see old women do this all of the time. Not making their own barcodes, mind you, but swapping the code from the seeded cucumbers to the unseeded ones, or switch the tag from a generic bible and put it onto the fancy one they have their eye on. I wish I wasn't serious.

        I see this all too frequently myself. Yes, even the bible one. The irony of someone stealing a bible is not lost on me, either.

        Well, obviously, that's the person who need it most!

      • The irony of someone stealing a bible is not lost on me, either.

        The irony is lost on me.

        If I were designing a religion, I would consider it successful to have people be willing to steal (which comes with risk of punishment), or otherwise make sacrifices out of desire for my literature. That should be a goal of all good religions. If you look at it that way, how could people stealing it even be slightly ironic? That's part of the end state that a religion should work for: people out of their mind with dev

  • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:32AM (#40086641)

    Surely VP of SAP doesn't need to be doing that?

    Some sort of mental illness of thrill-seeking?

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:40AM (#40086757)

      Surely VP of SAP doesn't need to be doing that?

      Once you start pulling 6 digit incomes and near the 7 digit ones, money isn't just about "saving" is just about "more".

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      Some sort of mental illness of thrill-seeking?

      On the part of the submitter. "the vice president of SAP" is not true. He was *A* vice president *AT* SAP. SAP, like most large companies, has many many people holding the VP title, some of which make a lot of money and some of which don't. He was probably well paid but not excessively so, but that doesn't mean anything if he had some sort of addiction or was just plain bored. 30 grand tax free, for a side job, is no small haul.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        30 grand tax free, for a side job, is no small haul.

        Considering the risk, effort and time spent, it IS a small haul compared to the salary of even a "low-level" VP.

      • by a90Tj2P7 (1533853)

        On the part of the submitter. "the vice president of SAP" is not true. He was *A* vice president *AT* SAP. SAP, like most large companies, has many many people holding the VP title, some of which make a lot of money and some of which don't.

        This. That's an important distinction. Before I'd left my prior job, they had just given each and every person in the sales department the title of "VP of Sales".

    • Could be his wife / some other entity, is monitoring his official finances and he is procuring unmonitored cash for some less reputable activities such as gambling, whoring, etc.

    • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:09AM (#40087205) Homepage

      actually, some research on shoplifting has shown that the vast majority of shoplifters can afford the items that they steal. In fact, its not uncommon at all for white middle class adults to engage in shoplifting, often citing the excitement of it as one of their motivators.

      The "National Association for Shoplifting Prevention" says that studies have found depression to be very common amongst shoplifters (http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/whatnaspoffers/nrc.htm).

      another interesting article is here: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/14/137627302/sticky-fingers-hidden-hams-a-shoplifting-history [npr.org]

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:33AM (#40086653) Homepage Journal

    Really? Doesn't a VP at SAP make enough money to afford his lifestyle? Is he so greedy that he's gotta do this kind of crap? And where does he find the TIME to post 2000 items to eBay?

    Clearly, things at SAP must be doing badly because #1) he's not making enough and #2) He's got plenty of time to sit at work posting shit to eBay.

    I don't have time to clean out the junk in my house and post crap to eBay. I barely have time to write this post.

  • by hessian (467078) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:37AM (#40086701) Homepage Journal

    Many people steal, but kleptomaniacs have a compulsion to steal independent of need. As this article illustrates [howstuffworks.com], the root of kleptomania is a desire for revenge upon a world that the person feels has treated them unfairly. This includes emotional mistreatment, which is independent of a high salary or success in life.

  • The sad thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:37AM (#40086703)

    He'll get off easier than some kid downloading a couple songs.

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:52AM (#40086929)
    I smell a gambling addiction and the enormous debt that comes with it.
  • by crow (16139) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:53AM (#40086967) Homepage Journal

    This sort of scam is far too common. It's time that stores had updated cash registers that would display a picture of the item when the code is scanned so that it if is obviously different, it has a good chance of getting noticed. It would mean adding a display facing the checkout clerk right above the scanner, and it would require having someone take a photo of each item when it first goes on sale--the latter could be provided by the vendor.

  • by Wuahn (1401687) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:15AM (#40087335)
    Kevin Smith has a podcast "SModcast" called Jay & Silent Bob Get Old and in the very first episode he talks about how they were driving around to stores like Walmart and Target trying to find some particularly rare Star Wars toys that they would then resell through a comic book store or something (I don't remember the specifics but it was something they did RECENTLY). There was no theft involved but it was trivial amounts of cash for a guy who's earned million dollar paychecks for his films. It seemed to be all about the thrill of the chase and nothing about the money. This guy obviously has a serious addiction which is independent of his financial status or his career. The story is just quaint because so many of us can identify with Legos (and how expensive they are) and at the same time it's some kind of big shot executive that gotten busted for petty theft.
  • by kryliss (72493) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:29AM (#40087603)

    #14. Anything stolen is pure profit.

  • Target Analytics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:27AM (#40088619)

    Another piece of this article overlooked is the "caught by Target security". Target has some of the most comprehensive and detailed customer data of any retailer. If you're on their coupon mailing list, the mailer you get from them is customized to you; they have a profile on you that's extremely accurate and their mailers have 2-3 floating pages, where the one printed to go to your address will have coupons based on the things someone in your profile would buy, and it's highly segmented and targeted to a level that's almost creepy; it can apparently predict if a woman is pregnant and when you're due, and can start sending you targeted ads: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

    Last month my car got broken into and my girlfriend's purse stolen; we were at an event and didn't get back to my car for about 5 hours after it happened. The perps took all her credit cards and started running them up, howeverher main one was canceled because they bought several items at Target which were outside of her normal profile (lots of junk food apparently, she's a very healthy eater), so they called AMEX and alerted them to fraud within 10 minutes of the fraudulent purchases, and AMEX shut her card down; we know because it got rejected at the next store they went to. They also pulled up the security tapes and were able to give video from their security cameras to the police of the guys checking out at the register. While we recovered and got all charges canceled, that was uncanny what Target was able to do to stop this crime in a matter of minutes.

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