republicattak/YouTube

He’s been humbled by the outpouring of fan support.

The YouTuber whose immense Lego collection was stolen from his home earlier this month has returned to the channel with a new appreciation for his followers—and his new fans. He’s also $18,000 richer thanks to a crowd-funding campaign where people were determined to replace the value of the Lego creations that were ransacked.

Republicattak posted a heartbreaking video earlier this month in which he revealed that thieves broke into his home, bypassed the computers and other valuables that were in plain view, and destroyed his Lego collection that was estimated to be worth $18,000. In the vlog, Republicattak, who was on the verge of tears, said he was leaving YouTube.

“My creation was here,” he said. “[It’s] gone. Totally destroyed.”

He continued, “I’m just stopping Legos. It’s been quite an adventure. … But now without lots of money, I can’t rebuild that. The bricks are gone. … I’m just stopping. I don’t know what I’m going to do … That’s it. It was an honor. Goodbye.”

The video went viral, drawing plenty of awareness to his plight. Before that vlog, his channel, which consisted of him showing off his vast collection, averaged between 50-200 views per day. But the video, which he titled “Bye,” accumulated more than 3 million views.

It inspired somebody to create a GoFundMe account to help him rebuild his collection. Before donations were closed, 961 people raised $18,350 in 19 days. Just before his collection was destroyed, Republicattak had a subscriber base of about 5,000. Now, he’s at about 360,000.

Clearly, Republicattk was done with YouTube after he discovered the robbery. But earlier this week, he uploaded a video titled “Thank you” in which the clearly touched YouTuber expressed his gratitude. That video has 1.3 million views.

“I just don’t have the words to express myself on this,” Republicattak said. “I just want to say that I am really thankful for all the very kind gestures and comments I got from many people. Not just from the Lego community but even people I didn’t know about or [those who] didn’t know about me. I was impressed how [much] support I got. … You gave me the energy to move forward.”

He said he was reminded constantly that even though the thieves took something of sentimental value, they couldn’t rob him of the memories he had. Republicattak also said he was moving out of his home to a place that he would keep secret. But it also sounds like he’s changed his mind and will continue to post occasional videos on his newly popular channel.

“Hopefully, I can move forward thanks to you,” he said. “I look forward to the future.”

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.