WESLEY CHAPEL — Arrested and accused of stealing Lego Star Wars sets, Shannon J. Kirkley was.
Kirkley, 35, of East Orange, N.J., was taken into custody Tuesday after, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said, he tried to smuggle 12 of the sets — each valued at more than $300 — out of a Wesley Chapel Toys "R" Us. It's a crime, investigators said, he's committed all over the country.
According to deputies, Kirkley removed a toy chest from its box and stuffed the Lego sets inside the box. Toys "R" Us workers saw him on camera removing the security labels from the Lego sets, officials said.
The man then paid for the toy chest, but not the Legos concealed inside.
A store worker called the Sheriff's Office, and deputies arrested Kirkley at the store.
Deputies knew about Kirkley before the alleged theft. Toys "R" Us notified law enforcement agencies that he was stealing Legos in the Tampa Bay area and at New Jersey stores.
"It was kind of a Toys "R" Us version of a (be-on-the-lookout alert)," said sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow.
After he was arrested, Kirkley admitted to stealing the Lego sets, according to the arrest report. He told deputies he sells the Legos for cash to then buy cocaine.
Kirkley was taken into custody on charges of retail grand theft, resisting arrest without violence and possession of cocaine. He also had a New Jersey arrest warrant for violating probation, though Pasco sheriff's officials said they would not be extraditing him.
He was being held Thursday at the Land O'Lakes Detention Center in lieu of $7,300 bail.