Toy Aisle Trolls > Hall of Fame Edition

A few of you sent me the story about a mother-and-son team who stole more than $2 million in toys from various retailers across the country.

Michael Pollara, 46, and his 70-year-old mother, Margaret Pollara, were charged with stealing merchandise from 31 Toy R Us stores in Florida alone.

Authorities alleged that the pair would shoplift using the “box stuffing” method that involves emptying the box of a cheaper item in the store and filling it with more expensive goods.

They would then pay the box’s lower sticker price at checkout.

Authorities charged that the son usually switched the toys while his mother acted as a lookout, the Associated Press reports.

The goods were then allegedly sold online, the AP reports. At the time of the arrest, according to court documents, Pollara had more than $900,000 in eBay and PayPal accounts.

Authorities said they were able to track the son’s movements across the country because he used a Toys R Us rewards card for his purchases.

He used a rewards card? Seriously?

Anyway, here’s the silver lining to this story: maybe getting fleeced to the tune of $2 million will finally encourage big-box stores to create some policies to minimize toy aisle trollage. I mean, probably┬ánot, but maybe.

12 Comments »

Comments now closed (12)

  • All that will happen is they’ll modify returns policies to make it more difficult for real consumers again. There won’t be any change in training of customer service personnel. They’re a completely different entity from loss prevention in most stores.

  • The only way I see to prevent stuff like this is to have high priced items behind glass cases similar to the videogame section. A lot of items cost more than the games behind glass, why shouldn't they be protected as well?

    • IDEA:

      Put all toys behind a glass case. The employee who must be approached to acquire any looks like a Stern Mom.

      Any adult colelctor who manages to wade through the embarrassment deserves to cherry-pick and scalp whatever he wishes.

      • I have a feeling a lot of collectors would become fathers the moment they saw that worker.

  • I can tell you from experience, the security at toys r us are far more interested and concerned with watching the employees than the patrons… they certainly don't care about piddly little shoplifting. unless it is a serious repeat offender, then they'll set up a sting.

    also, why the HELL would you use a goddamn REWARDS CARD… something linked to your address, when you are STEALING?

    • When I worked at TRU, we were actually told two things.

      1. There were only two cameras in the store, the rest were fake. One was in the video game storage room, the other was in the money counting room. It certainly explains how a manager was able to walk out of the store with a cart full of video games once.

      2. Don't ever patrol the clearance section. Our store made more money from items stolen than sold when they got on super clearance because of how our insurance policy worked. Our manager got so pissed as me when I bought a garbage bag of Mewtwo beanies for under a dollar. Each one stolen or damaged would have been something like $4 instead of the 7/10ths of a penny I paid for each of them.

  • Attention Toys R Us: Please, come to your New Jersey stores. There are at least 2-3 folks doing this exact same thing at almost every one of your stores in the state that I've been to over the last 4 years. And two of them sell at a flea market less than 1/2 mile down the road from one of your bigger newer stores. They then return their "peg-warmers" or ones that don't sell, by the hundreds… It's ridiculous and slowly killing the hobby in this state.

  • Just put Digital River in charge of all toy returns.

    You'll never have to worry about people fraudulently returning stuff ever again!

    • god, ain't that the truth! "returns will only be handled once a month, on the 32d of the month, at 11:59pm. Returns will be offered to customers returning items in original packaging and only to customers with original reciept from purchase, 3 forms of state ID, and a note from their mothers, living or deceased. Refunds will only be made in the form of wampum. Also, the first rule of the return policy, you do not talk about the return policy. The second rule is you do NOT talk about the return policy. The third rule is, if this is your first return… you have to fight."