Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 17, 2012

News Digest

SAP executive pleads 'not guilty' in LEGO-theft case

A Palo Alto software company executive accused of switching barcodes on the tags of LEGO toys rejected a plea bargain and pleaded not guilty in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Tuesday morning, Aug. 14.

Mountain View police arrested Thomas Langenbach, 47, the vice president of Palo Alto software firm SAP Labs, LLC, on May 8. He was charged with four felony-burglary counts for allegedly pasting fraudulent barcodes on LEGO toys at local Target stores. Loss-prevention officers at the Mountain View Target, located at 555 Showers Drive, detained him when he purchased a LEGO set that he allegedly labeled with a fraudulent barcode.

Langenbach had allegedly been "ticket switching" LEGO boxes since April 20 at the Target stores in Mountain View, Cupertino and near his San Carlos home, according to Mountain View police. He purchased the items at greatly lowered prices scanned from the barcodes, according to a criminal complaint by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.

Police found hundreds of unopened LEGO sets — many special-edition items — at his gated, multimillion-dollar home, according to court papers. Items from the three stores were found at Langenbach's home, according to a police report filed with the court.

Investigators also found eight Ziploc bags containing labels with fraudulent barcodes in his 2011 Toyota Sienna van. There were also shipping boxes in the home. Police say he had an eBay account, through which he has sold 2,100 items since April 17, 2011.

Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie previously said Langenbach sold about $30,000 in merchandise on eBay under the name Tom's Brickyard. At the time of his arrest, 193 items were for sale. Most were LEGO sets, according to court papers.

City to repave San Antonio Road, replace trees

Palo Alto launched the next phase of the San Antonio Road construction project on Monday, Aug. 13, an effort that includes widening a section of the road, replacing street trees and repaving the busy street at the city's southern border.

The work is the second phase of a multi-year project aimed at repairing aged infrastructure along the busy street at the city's southern border and improving median islands and sidewalks. Construction began last fall.

The work includes widening San Antonio to create a new left-turn lane at Middlefield Road. The city also plans to repave the street between Middlefield and U.S. Highway 101 and install new trees, a new irrigation system and install video detection for traffic signals.

The work will result in some lane closures, though city officials plan to keep all traffic lanes open during the busiest commute hours. According to the city's announcement, all lanes will be open until 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to minimize disruption. On-street parking will not be allowed in the construction area, according to a flier from the Public Works Department.

The project includes removal of 101 trees, more than half of which are stone pines, and planting 120 new trees of different varieties. The pines have already been removed and the replacement trees will be planted once the paving is completed.

Officials had determined after consulting with arborists that the pines are "at the end of their useful lifecycle and require significant ongoing maintenance, including branch removal, surface-road grinding and extensive sidewalk and road repair," according to a report from the Public Works Department.

Teen attacked at Menlo Park skate park

School vacation, a sunny Monday morning in Menlo Park, nowhere else to be — why not hit the skate park? One 14-year-old boy was doing just that, riding his silver BMX bike on Aug. 13 shortly before 11 a.m., when two men approached.

One asked to ride the bike. Turned down, he punched the boy's helmet and back as the other assailant grabbed the bike. The pair fled southbound on Alma Street, police said, and escaped a search by officers from Menlo Park and Palo Alto. The boy was uninjured.

The first suspect, last seen riding the stolen bike, was described as a white man about 17 to 18 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, with short blonde hair, freckles and light eyes. He wore jeans and a gray T-shirt, according to the police report.

Police said the second suspect was a black man about 18 to 19 years old, nearly 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with short, curly dark hair and medium complexion. He wore dark blue jeans and a white T-shirt.

Police ask that anyone with information about the robbery to call them at 650-330-6300.

— Sandy Brundage

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