It was just before the toy warehouse shut for the day, a Friday. Six minutes before 5pm, to be precise
A man and woman in a white Citroen van had been parked across the road for a long while. Noone had noticed them at the time, but police now know they had been parked on Dawson Street, Coburg North, a back street near Sydney Road, for 90 minutes. “It was a stake-out,” says Constable Jon White of the Fawkner police.
Then, it happened. The Citroen suddenly lurched backwards in a high-pitched reverse through the gates of ShopforMe, a store selling mainly Lego and mainly online. However it does have a small retail store at the front of the warehouse, where Ninja J took pride of place.
The van backed up at speed, the rear doors were flung open and a woman jumped out. “Large,” says Constable White, “and Caucasian. About 100 kilograms we think. About 176 centimetres tall.” She ran into the shop, picked up Ninja J, ran out and leapt back into the rear of the van, which had already started accelerating.
A worker from the warehouse ran out and chased the van as it headed up Dawson Street. Constable White has seen CCTV footage of the moments that followed – “it was like a heist movie, the van takes off at speed, the woman is trying to get in the back with Ninja J, her legs are sticking out the back of the van as it heads away and she scrambles in and the doors shut and that’s it.”
The footage has not been released by police because the crooks’ faces are obscured, and the number plates on the Citroen van are stolen. The incident happened on November 4. But they have released an image of Ninja J, which is still missing, a one-metre high blue Lego ninja, glued together in the store as a display item in the run-up to Christmas.
“It’s the only Ninja J in existence,” said Constable White, “a one-of-a-kind.” The policeman said he had scoured ebay and other online marketplaces and also investigated Lego collectors – “they are a tight-knit group” – with no joy. He is now becoming resigned to the fact that the “statue,” as he calls it, has gone.
He doesn’t know who took it and he doesn’t know why. Ninja J does have two big yellow swords though, so perhaps he’ll be OK out there.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.