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SAP VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the always-use-bitcoins-for-lego-arbitrage dept.

Crime 535

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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535 comments

Common Sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086607)

Didn't anyone at the store find it suspicious that an expensive big Lego set would suddenly be heavily discounted?

Re:Common Sense (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086629)

So you expect the drones at the cash register to know the prices of a billion different store items? You'd be tough to work for...

Re:Common Sense (4, Insightful)

dominux (731134) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086837)

I would expect them to see that the description that comes up isn't what the product is. The price isn't stored in the bar code, you can't change the barcode to make the product lower priced, but you can print a bar code for a cheaper item and stick it on the expensive one. The till would bring up the product description and price of the cheap item, so they need to be selling a cheaper item with a sufficiently similar description that it would not get noticed by a sleepy drone. This is a pretty high risk method of stealing stuff.

Re:Common Sense (0, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087029)

I would expect them to see that the description that comes up isn't what the product is. The price isn't stored in the bar code, you can't change the barcode to make the product lower priced, but you can print a bar code for a cheaper item and stick it on the expensive one. The till would bring up the product description and price of the cheap item, so they need to be selling a cheaper item with a sufficiently similar description that it would not get noticed by a sleepy drone

When I worked retail management at a supermarket 20 years ago this was NOT the case. Had a little situation with a guy slapping "gound beef" price stickers on beef tenderloin steaks (this is about an order of magnitude diff in price). Deli workers were known to do similar foolishness with price per pound of various products... If the deli girl liked you, you got the cold shrimp pesto salad ($10/lb) for the price of the generic bulk coleslaw ($2/lb).

In the modern era of self checkout grocery stores, especially if you're paying cash and have no loyalty card, every produce item is lettuce per pound. I donno how they stay in business like that.

In the long run I think the "dollar store" concept of $1 per package is going to eventually disappear and instead of RFIDs for each can of soup in the market, they'll simply weigh your cart and charge you a flat rate per pound. The "crab legs and beef tenderloin" problem is solved by making the packaging inconveniently hard to open and inserting bricks or corn or HFCS in the package to bring the cost per pound to a standard weight. Imagine a giant supermarket with only one cashier and checkout takes 15 seconds per cartload. Or packaging deals of cheap bulky stuff with expensive stuff, so buying expensive per pound stir fry meat is impossible alone; you have to buy it with a 10 pound rice sack. Or can't buy steaks or charcoal, must buy steaks and charcoal.

Since everything in walmart/target/whatever comes from China, and everything is made of plastic, I could see charging stuff from those stores based solely on weight. Here, you get 5 pounds of Chinese lead painted plastic. Is it a millenium falcon lego, or a dora the explorer vacuum cleaner, who cares, its 5 pounds of plastic and that'll be $X/pound.

Re:Common Sense (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087033)

Not really high risk as you might thing, a lot of places like that pay rather low salary, and so their employees, and it's a rather boring job - those employees aren't going to have that much concern.

People autopilot a lot, especially when bored. And if you are *really* smart, you put the stickers on a few extras (make sure they don't have your prints), and then you can say you didn't do anything, or say 'all of them had stickers like this, I thought it was some new way of doing things'.

Re:Common Sense (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087069)

If he finds the right swaps, then it's not going to be a problem. The descriptions are rarely that informative, and it's quite possible that "LEGO SW MIL.FALC" replaced by "LEGO 700PC SET" would be missed by someone trying to ring up items in a hurry, especially given you're not going to be expecting the wrong barcode to be scanned. You have some big box of lego, are you really going to look at it that hard?

Now, some Scented Holiday Candles being rung up for a dollar on the other hand...

Re:Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087089)

Well, this is very likely why he went with LEGO as his product of choice. Generally, the product description for things like toys gets truncated, so using the example from TFS, he could use the barcode from a smaller LEGO Star Wars set that cost $50 and put it on the Millenium Falcon that costs $270. It rings up as LEGO Star Wars #98712, or maybe just LEGO Star Wa. Even if it displays the full name, no clerk is going to read further than LEGO, much less LEGO Star Wars.

Re:Common Sense (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086971)

Cash register workers are smarter and more observant than you may think. Purchasing a $280 Lego set for $50 will raise all kinds of eyebrows. Shucks, I bet some of the workers ran back to see if they could buy one themselves. So Tom was definitely an idiot, risking his entire career and reputation like this. I expect that he would have been apprehended much sooner if not for most people's intimidation by technology -- being unaware of how easy it is to create a fake bar code.

Re:Common Sense (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087077)

Smarter? Probably, but this is a matter of being observant. Pick someone bored looking, towards the end of their shift, or go when lines are long. They won't care due to either boredom or stress. The smarter ones will be more vulnerable during the boredom times, the less smart will be more vulnerable during the packed times.

Re:Common Sense (5, Informative)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086643)

The drones at most of these stores don't care; I should know I use to be one and I was the "odd man out" that would notice these things and say something. A lot of times as a cashier speed (items per hour) matters more than accuracy. Your bonus can depend on it, so doing any kind of "checks" hurts a lot.

Re:Common Sense (3, Insightful)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086767)

This sounds like brain-dead retarded management policy. Stepping over a dollar to save a dime.

They didn't deserve you.

Re:Common Sense (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086915)

Welcome to retail sales. Management = retarded.

Re:Common Sense (4, Interesting)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087135)

I worked sales at a car stereo chain (well known in the NW) and was yelled at on the floor, by the manager, for selling the customer the better product instead of the one with more profit. I won't work sales anymore, my favorite line is I would rather chew on broken glass and razor blades than do sales.

Re:Common Sense (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087105)

This sounds like brain-dead retarded management policy. Stepping over a dollar to save a dime.

They didn't deserve you.

Except that in this case it was stepping over a dime to save a dollar. The truly vast majority of barcode scans are correct.

Re:Common Sense (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087149)

Perhaps. Or perhaps that store owner crunched the numbers and determined it was cheaper to deal with the loss, than to slow down the lines.

Re:Common Sense (5, Insightful)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086933)

I should know I use to be one and I was the "odd man out" that would notice these things and say something.

(emphasis added)

I see this line of thinking a lot, and there's a key factor people tend to forget. There's a reason you've moved on to bigger and better things, and a reason some people continue to do that menial work for a decade. When you hire low wage employees for a while, you begin to realize that any "good find" won't be there for long, because they're meant for something more important.

Re:Common Sense (5, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086661)

Which part of $8/hour confuses you?

Work just enough not to get fired, paid just enough not to quit.

Re:Common Sense (2)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086731)

Somehow I doubt that the cashiers follow Lego pricing so closely. To someone with any amount of ignorance on the merchandise, $50 may seem like a reasonable price on a large box of plastic foot needles.

Also keep in mind the repetitive, mind-numbing task cashiers perform. After a while, I doubt they even notice what it was they rung up. Scan, bag, repeat x N. Total, swipe, next. Try that for five or six 8-hour days in a row, for hundreds of customers, then see how much you notice or care about the merchandise.

Re:Common Sense (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086945)

After a while, I doubt they even notice what it was they rung up. Scan, bag, repeat x N. Total, swipe, next. Try that for five or six 8-hour days in a row, for hundreds of customers, then see how much you notice or care about the merchandise.

I sure hope that's not true. If so, then buying all those boxes of XL condoms from that cute cashier at the drug store was a total waste of money?

Re:Common Sense (2)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087063)

Somehow I doubt that the cashiers follow Lego pricing so closely. To someone with any amount of ignorance on the merchandise, $50 may seem like a reasonable price on a large box of plastic foot needles.

Also keep in mind the repetitive, mind-numbing task cashiers perform. After a while, I doubt they even notice what it was they rung up. Scan, bag, repeat x N. Total, swipe, next. Try that for five or six 8-hour days in a row, for hundreds of customers, then see how much you notice or care about the merchandise.

Wow, you have a high opinion of human beings. /sarc

It actually works pretty much the exact opposite way from what you said. While a beginning cashier may be flustered, the more experienced cashiers actually observe more details, because they're no longer stressing with the basic mechanics of checkout, and they also are more familiar with the products. The human mind is a restless thing. You better believe they notice what you are buying.

Re:Common Sense (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087173)

Somehow I doubt that the cashiers follow Lego pricing so closely. To someone with any amount of ignorance on the merchandise, $50 may seem like a reasonable price on a large box of plastic foot needles.

Its an age thing. When I was a kid, $50 for a big box of lego would seem a bit high, so as a childless adult if I scanned a box and it said $50 I would not be overly surprised but kind of pissed off that prices have gone up so much.

Now a days I shop for lego for my kids, and some of the largest movie-tie-in licensed items are more expensive than a car loan payment.
Another example, basic stereotypical "Lego house kit" prices have gone up by percentage more than real house prices went up during the bubble... and haven't come down yet unlike real house prices.

This would NOT work with apple i-devices or similar things a retail droid could be expected to purchase and know about.

Re:Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086759)

With the "self-checkout" machines popping up everywhere so stores can cut down on employee costs, I'd be shocked if anyone noticed.

Re:Common Sense (4, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086853)

With the "self-checkout" machines popping up everywhere so stores can cut down on employee costs, I'd be shocked if anyone noticed.

I assume he replaced the barcodes with UPCs for cheaper, but similar products so that a cashier wouldn't be particularly suspicious, particularly if it's a line of products with which they're not familiar. The self check might actually be harder to get by than a human, since those have a scale on the bagging side.

Re:Common Sense (0)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087053)

The scale on the self-checkout doesn't do any sort of sanity check; it just makes sure the weight changes after scanning an item to ensure you've placed it in the bagging area.

Re:Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086803)

Didn't anyone at the store find it suspicious that an expensive big Lego set would suddenly be heavily discounted?

No way a cashier would notice, but someone monitoring inventory might. Especially since they probably sold more low value items than were ever stocked in the store. If he was stealing that much money, it will be noticed and cameras pointed at that part of the store.

Re:Common Sense (4, Funny)

Rhys (96510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086847)

They probably figured someone at the store blew it.

One time we hauled a pallet's load worth of Jones soda out of our local sams club. They were apparently discontinuing carrying it (it hasn't reappeared in the 3 years since). I think they'd *tried* to price it at 12-something (12.38?) per 12 pack. They instead managed to fat-finger it at 2.38 per 12 pack.

We saw it, said, "no possible way." Took it to a scanner, yep 2.38. Took one up to a cashier, "can you price check this?" "2.38" "Seems odd" "That's what the computer says" "Okay, I'll be back" -- and I was, with their whole stock of it.

I don't remember what our total bill was that time, but we bought them out. We had a ziggurat of soda, waist high, in our garage for months... maybe over a year. It was awesome. 20 friends over for BBQ? Bust out the Jones!

Mostly its too much trust in the machine.

Re:Common Sense (1)

NerdmastaX (1749114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087117)

you couldnt pay me 2.38 to drink a CAN of jones...

Re:Common Sense (1)

NerdmastaX (1749114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087031)

Didn't anyone at the store find it suspicious that an expensive big Lego set would suddenly be heavily discounted?

first of all this is old news compared to the couple that did it at Walmart... but was that on Slashdot? no that was probably before Slashdot started posting crap that has no tech value other than brushing up against technology(literally) [found this from two years ago which is almost an exact repeat http://triblocal.com/des-plaines/2010/12/17/cops-fake-barcodes-lower-lego-price/%5D [triblocal.com] Next Topic: Larry Page doesn't pick up poop in park... (this would make Slashdot headlines if it happened... and you know it.)

Re:Common Sense (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087111)

Didn't anyone at the store find it suspicious that an expensive big Lego set would suddenly be heavily discounted?

you mean that Target doesn't offer self-serve checkout?

Little person... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086617)

...microscopic?

He was too ambitious (5, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086635)

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.

Re:He was too ambitious (2)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086735)

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.

Re:He was too ambitious (0)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086981)

The irony I find is that someone has the audacity to sell the word of god. I suppose that one can say one needs to recoup cost and some recompense might be in order, but to prey on someones vanity to profit, that has always bothered me. I guess one can say most bible produces, like many bible thumpers, are not really christian, but then we are talking about hypocrisy not irony.

Re:He was too ambitious (3, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087037)

If you don't like fancy bibles, you should try your local Bible Factory Outlet. Their stuff is real basic. You know their motto: "Where Jesus Saves, and You can Too!".

Re:He was too ambitious (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086987)

I worked in retail and we caught a nun stealing.

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

Re:He was too ambitious (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:He was too ambitious (0)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086749)

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.

Thank you for tickling my irony bone so early in the day. Co-workers must be wondering what the big-ass smirk is all about. :)

Re:He was too ambitious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087083)

big ass-smirk

Because he needed the cash? (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086641)

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

Some sort of mental illness of thrill-seeking?

Re:Because he needed the cash? (4, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#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".

Re:Because he needed the cash? (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087091)

A low 6 figure income in Mountain View (and most of California) is middle class. Family of four in the bay area? $75K/year is scrapping by.

Re:Because he needed the cash? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086835)

Trophy Wife?
Mental disorder?
Poor tax planning?
Mistress!

Re:Because he needed the cash? (2)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086865)

He's building a Lego mistress.

Re:Because he needed the cash? (5, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087023)

Man that's going to chafe....

Re:Because he needed the cash? (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086871)

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.

Re:Because he needed the cash? (2)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086879)

My doctor growing up was a kleptomaniac. He would take things out of the local grocery without paying for them all the time. No one ever stopped him because he'd always return the goods a couple of hour later. Of course, he wasn't conspiring to do it for profit, he just couldn't help his impulses any more than someone with OCD.

I suppose this could be something similar, but criminal charges are definitely in order for the nature and amount of the crime.

Re:Because he needed the cash? (2)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086899)

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.

Re:Because he needed the cash? (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087101)

If so, she's got blinders on. If I were her:

"So, Thomas, I think it's time we have a little talk about why you have 200 boxes of Lego Millenium Falcon..."

Re:Because he needed the cash? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086983)

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

Some sort of mental illness of thrill-seeking?

All part of an elaborate plot to sell Target some sort of heuristic-theft-detection ERP module that slides 'seamlessly' into a SAP implementation and absolutely nowhere else...

In all seriousness, of course, people who commit crimes despite having no reasonable incentive to do so ($30k isn't peanuts; but in $/hour plus legal exposure, how well could box-at-a-time retail fraud have really stacked up compared to just staying a little later at the office when you are a VP?) are really ones to be watched. People who merely want the good things money can buy are comparatively easy to satisfy. People who want money per se are always more expensive than you can afford...

Why? (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086653)

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.

Re:Why? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086765)

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?

Don't be silly. Laws against stealing are for "little people", right?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086769)

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?

So, exactly which part of "VP of a major corporation" is confusing you? Do nothing, get paid too much, dream of getting paid WAY too much. It's how the job works.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086821)

If I told you that a manager of big company is a kleptomaniac, would that be a less surprising way of putting it?

Re:Why? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087049)

What is surprising is not that he's a kleptomaniac; but that he's such a bad kleptomaniac(or, even more oddly, he brings a degree of technical skill, creating his own barcodes, to a typically downmarket form of shoplifting, normally accomplished just by sticker-swapping, but doesn't actually improve the rate of return notably...)

It's like discovering that some sleazy commodities speculator is breaking into foreclosed houses to steal copper in his nights and weekends. Sure, it isn't a surprise that a commodities trader might have a questionably ethical relationship with metals prices; but it is a surprise to find him getting his hands dirty with a sideline in blue-collar crime.

Re:Why? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086903)

$30k is chump change compared to what he presumably makes, especially considering the great amount of time and trouble he went to.

It's time for a visit to the shrink,

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087143)

Wow, Doc. Your hourly rate is really, really expensive. Would you consider payment in Legos? I have some Star Wars ones...

The third option is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086957)

maybe it's just nature that pushes people like him to the top. The result may actually be the cause in this case.

Mental Disorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086657)

This guy draws a six figure salary and he's, for all intents and purposes, shoplifting? This can't be about the money. He must have a mental disorder.

Re:Mental Disorder? (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086927)

If he didn't have the mental disorder, he wouldn't be a VP.

What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086667)

He's an executive at SAP and now he's going to prison for stealing $30K from Target? There must be more to this story.

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086715)

I doubt he's going to prison for four counts of burglary. He'll probably pay a small fine, that's about it.

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086763)

he'll probably get fired. under US law i think its illegal to have a company officer with a felony conviction

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086919)

Obviously the same law doesn't apply to past/present/future politicians.

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087073)

Didn't the executives at 'Premier Election Systems' meet in prison?

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086719)

Obviously a lot less than SAP consultants, yeesh!

Re:What do VP's make at SAP? (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086725)

Perhaps executives at SAP only make minimum wage now?

Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086677)

If he was so intent on selling legos for what was a very small fraction of his salary, he obviously has the means to setup a business and just order them wholesale well below MSRP from Lego. Must have been some weird disorder.

Re:Strange (1)

jampola (1994582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086781)

He could be proving a point? I bet my bollocks to a barn dance that this was not done for any financial gain.

Good idea, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086681)

Well, good idea, but he disregarded the eleventh commandment:
"Thou Shalt Not Get Caught." :D

The article is really hokey (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086697)

"Police believe he made the bar codes using his own software skills." Well I think that if one scans a barcode with a smartphone, uses a sticker sheet and a printer, 'Ol Country Joe could probably do this same scam with "his own software skills" I presume he was scanning cheaper items and just replacing the bar codes on the more expensive ones, he wasn't "Hacking" the target database and changing prices.

Re:The article is really hokey (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086901)

It's the 6 o'clock news; since when do they bother presenting any facts ? Just more thinly-veiled propaganda to distract the docile masses.

This is just the slightly updated version of retagging. A decade ago, petty crooks would keep 4-5 different price guns handy, so they could match the style of price tag used in various shops. Even then, stores were smaller and many cashiers had most of the prices memorized, so they would notice major discrepancies like these Legos. Today, all you need is a Kinko's and free software to generate the barcodes, the cashiers don't even look at the item as it zooms past the scanner, and in some cases they even have self-checkout aisles with only moderate supervision.

It's never been difficult to defraud the system, but only recently has it become so dehumanized that the dumbest of dumb could get away with it.

Giant scam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086699)

How does this compare to the ongoing financial scams being perpetrated on all of us?

Re:Giant scam? (5, Insightful)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086829)

How does this compare to the ongoing financial scams being perpetrated on all of us?

Totally different ... he got arrested.

Kleptomania is a mental disease (4, Interesting)

hessian (467078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086701)

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.

Re:Kleptomania is a mental disease (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086793)

Wow. Well, I hope someone treats me so unfairly as to name me VP of a large company. I promise not to crack under the strain.

Re:Kleptomania is a mental disease (0)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086823)

Well, it seems like a lot of our white-collar CEOs are kleptocrats, and obviously feel the world owes them something.

This guy is just a poster-child for what is wrong with Corporate America. Never can fucking give these kids enough, can we!

Re:Kleptomania is a mental disease (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087099)

This guy Sells SAP how much more revenge upon the world could you possibly desire?

Re:Kleptomania is a mental disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087141)

Or maybe the guy is just a sociopath. 1 in 25 people are sociopaths. They can do anything at all and never feel guilty about it; CAN'T feel guilty about it, actually.

Sociopaths often do well in business because they can easily make tough/heartless decisions that help the bottom line. They also have no qualms about sabotaging the career of co-workers in order to climb the corporate ladder.

If this is the case (if the guy is a sociopath), it wouldn't be revenge upon the world, but rather a simple exploit of an insecure system for personal benefit. The mindset is: If Target isn't smart enough to detect and defeat this attack, f*** 'em, they deserve to be ripped off. I win, they lose; just as it ought to be.

The sad thing... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086703)

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

Even easier at self-serve checkouts (1)

jampola (1994582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086755)

You could be even more ambitious at the Self Serve check-outs! (especially here in Australia)

Re:Even easier at self-serve checkouts (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086931)

You could be even more ambitious at the Self Serve check-outs! (especially here in Australia)

Don't those have scales on the bagging side in Australia? They do here in the US.

Re:Even easier at self-serve checkouts (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086943)

You could be even more ambitious at the Self Serve check-outs! (especially here in Australia)

Actually the self serve checkouts (they don't use them at Target, btw, which might have made a difference in this scheme) would have served to CATCH him. The checkouts use highly accurate product weight data, combined with a scale, to tell if you are sneaking things past the scanner. In the case of this scheme, he would have been putting the barcode for a 10 oz. box of Lego onto a 3 lb box of Lego. The self serve checkout would have a fit as soon as it saw that a 3 lb box appeared when a 10oz on was supposed to.

Re:Even easier at self-serve checkouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087011)

Target does have self-serve checkouts, at least in newer or newly-remodeled stores in some areas. Two stores near me have them.

Re:Even easier at self-serve checkouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087159)

I was under the impression that the self-serve checkouts weighed the items being purchased. That must be just my imagination, though, thinking about how to stop this kind of theft. That would be a pretty big undertaking, weighing and cataloging all the different products in a store.

I suppose if it was this way, that you could take the real item, scan it, weigh it, and then dump it behind the machine...

amateur! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086785)

what an amateur.. he didn't create his own bogus manufacturer's coupons to sweeten the 'deals' even more.

If you work at SAP, this reflects upon you (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086789)

You worked your ass off in school and in your career to land the job you have today at SAP. All of that hard work, just so you can work for this guy. If I worked at SAP, I'd want a full accounting so I could decide if the management team that promoted this guy was rotten to to core. If so, there are plenty of other places that need your skills.

Re:If you work at SAP, this reflects upon you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087021)

No. No it doesn't. Really.

CEO Entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086811)

What's the big deal. CEOs are entitled. They are our worthy lords and masters

welp, (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086819)

Nowadays, everyone needs a hustle. Even a damn SAP VP.

Typical (0, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086831)

There's a set of rules for the great unwashed, and another for the 1%.

The marvellous book Freakonomics describes how rich people steal, lie and cheat more often, because their sense of entitlement gets there in the first place.

But I'm not sure I'm allowed to post this. It's election year, therefore we're not allowed to say anything that might offend conservatives, Republicans or rich people.

Re:Typical (3, Insightful)

x0 (32926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087007)

There's a set of rules for the great unwashed, and another for the 1%.

The marvellous book Freakonomics describes how rich people steal, lie and cheat more often, because their sense of entitlement gets there in the first place.

But I'm not sure I'm allowed to post this. It's election year, therefore we're not allowed to say anything that might offend conservatives, Republicans or rich people.

I swear, this 1% shit is getting old. A story gets posted to /. about on guy stealing from Target, and suddenly this classist bullshit gets posted.

Why can't it just be that this guy is an idiot with mental problems? Or just an idiot with kleptomania?

m

Legos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40086851)

Is no one going to say it? The plural is Lego.

I wish (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086887)

At least he was buying the best toy in the world. Imagine if he was buying Justin Bieber lunch boxes or something else equally stupid.

Time for the Lego Bay... (1, Funny)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086895)

We have a grossly overpriced product with strange distribution rules. Sounds kinda like big media...

Yes, I know that digital 'piracy' isn't a zero sum game. I also understand that Lego isn't nearly as evil as big media. Still, it's interesting to watch as illegal forces outside the 'standard' market work in ways that undermine the inflated Lego price structure.

Re:Time for the Lego Bay... (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087139)

There are quite some alternatives to Lego; some are even fully compatible with the original Lego bricks.

Yet I have to see one with the same quality. Strong blocks (not floppy), and that all fit perfectly together: not falling apart or being impossible to take apart. That's what Lego manages to do, and what all competing bricks that I have had in my hands fall short of. Most of them just don't have the rigidity for starters: usually because they use a cheaper plastic. Many have issues with fitting - usually too loose, especially after a while. Yet the Lego bricks from my childhood, some 30 years old, are now being played with by my son. Mixed with a good quantity of even older bricks. And they work just as well as they did back then.

Legos are expensive, sure. But until there is a competitor on the market that can produce a cheaper brick with the same overall quality, you just can't say they're overpriced.

Re:Time for the Lego Bay... (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40087153)

actually there is a minimal amount of "extra" price in lego building blocks (note they should not be refered to as "lego" since the correct name is Lego Building Blocks. One of the reasons that the "real" ones are so expensive is that they are made to crazy tolerences the other one being they are just about indestructible. In fact you can take the LegoBB from my collection from when i was a kid and mix it with a new off the shelf kit and know that all the parts will actually work together.

a LegoBay version would most likely fail.

A VP scamming for money? (4, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086929)

I smell a gambling addiction and the enormous debt that comes with it.

Motive (1)

robi5 (1261542) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086939)

He's been doing SAP since 1988, it destroys neurons after several years. He might be a millionaire so he can afford a non-traditional thrill-seeking lifestyle. Or he took even larger bribes from the competitors just to put SAP's name in the papers. Either way the guy showed initiative in Finance just as in Logistics :-)

Stores need updated registers (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40086967)

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.

I wonder if he reads 4chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40087087)

The coupon threads were huge a while back.

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