MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A sharp-eyed South Florida Toys R Us employee led to the investigation of a sneaky mother and son duo who allegedly stole more than $2 million in toys.

The employee noticed something was wrong when Lego boxes went missing from her store, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

That’s when the police got involved. Their investigation led them to Margaret Pollara, 71, who reportedly wouldn’t let her son Michael enter the robbery zone alone. Investigators say the mother-son team stole from 139 stores by replacing less expensive toys for more expensive toys worth $99 apiece.

The Pollaras would allegedly scour the store for inexpensive items in big boxes. The Michael Pollara, 46, would stuff pricey toys including $150 Lego sets and Leapster Pads into a large box while his mother, Margaret Pollara, worked as the lookout, according to police. They would then hide the inexpensive items on the store’s shelves.

The two swept the nation, travelling to 27 states including Hawaii, New York, and California and buying $7,000 worth of less expensive toys with assistance of Michael Pollara’s Toys R Us reward card and swapping the toys out. Purchases off of the card later helped lead the authorities to track the two down. Their investigation also uncovered that the Pollaras had stashed more than $900,000 in their eBay and PayPal accounts.

The Pollaras were arrested Thursday and booked into Broward’s jail on a number of charges including grand theft and fraudulently obtaining property.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.


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