The model was first spotted in the back of a Friends instruction manual, but failed to materialise alongside the rest of this year’s CITY line-up in either January or March. The instruction manual for 41450 Heartlake City Shopping Mall, meanwhile, omitted the set entirely.
Something was clearly up, so we reached out to the LEGO Group to figure out the fate of this mysterious LEGO CITY set. In response, the team behind one of the company’s core themes confirmed that it has in fact been cancelled altogether.
“With LEGO CITY, we always aim to represent the reality of the world in a way that is fun, positive and appropriate for kids,” the CITY team stated. “With this in mind, we have decided not to launch this product as we no longer feel it is in keeping with the values of the LEGO CITY brand.”
That response really only begs another question, though: how did 60278 Crook’s Hideout Raid manage to get far enough along the production line to make it into promotional materials if it didn’t fit the theme’s brand values?
It’s a similar story to the fate that befell last year’s LEGO Technic 42113 Bell Boeing Osprey, which was pulled from sale at the very last moment following an outcry from the German Peace Society over its military ties. In this instance, however, there was seemingly no external force piling pressure on the LEGO Group: it’s simply cancelled 60278 Crook’s Hideout Raid of its own volition.
If we had to take a guess, giving the bad guys a lair with a giant stick of dynamite on the roof might have been a bit too on the nose for LEGO CITY, but it’s not like we haven’t had criminal bases before. 2015’s Swamp Police subtheme included 60068 Crooks’ Hideout, while the following year saw the release of 60131 Crooks Island in the Prison Island subtheme.
With only a single image of the planned set to go on, it’s tricky to know whether something specific to 60278 Crook’s Hideout Raid proved problematic for the CITY team, or whether this is a wider policy shift with regards to criminal hideouts. We’ve followed up with the LEGO Group to find out, so watch this space.
For now, the current range of definitely-not-cancelled LEGO CITY sets is available at LEGO.com. You can support the work that Brick Fanatics does by ordering your sets using any one of our affiliate links.