Six Arrested in Canada’s Largest Gold Heist Worth $14.5 Million

Canadian authorities have revealed the details of what is now said to be the largest gold heist in the nation’s history. The heist took place at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport which involved an operation that saw the disappearance of 6,600 gold bars valued at over 20 million Canadian dollars ($14.5 million).

Six Arrested in Canada's Largest Gold Heist Worth $14.5 Million

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On April 17, 2023, a shipment of 6,600 gold bars, weighing a 419 kilograms, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport from a refinery in Zurich, Switzerland.

The gold along with CA$2.5 million in foreign currencies was intended for secure storage at the airport’s cargo facility.

The gold heist was allegedly carried out by a well-organized group of individuals including an Air Canada warehouse employee and a former Air Canada manager. A jewelry store owner is among those implicated in the crime.

The perpetrators employed a strategy to execute the theft. A fraudulent bill, resembling one used for a previous legitimate shipment of seafood, was presented to Air Canada warehouse staff.

This duplicitous document facilitated the pickup of the gold-laden cargo by a truck driver who then absconded with the valuable payload.

Following the discovery of the missing gold and currency an investigation, codenamed Project 24K was launched by Peel Regional Police.

Over the course of the year-long probe, authorities executed 37 search warrants, interviewed over 50 individuals, and brought forth 19 charges against the alleged perpetrators.

Cooperation between Canadian law enforcement and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) played a role in one of the suspects who was found in possession of 65 illegal firearms during a routine traffic stop in Pennsylvania.

Only a fraction of the stolen gold has been recovered. Peel Regional Police disclosed that a mere CA$90,000 of the over CA$20 million stolen has been retrieved thus far.

The individuals charged in connection with the heist including Air Canada employees and the jewelry store owner have been released on bail conditions pending trial.

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Arrest warrants have been issued for additional suspects, including the former Air Canada manager allegedly involved in the scheme.

Authorities suspect that proceeds from the sale of the stolen gold were used to finance illegal firearms purchases.

The gold heist has the public imagination, drawing comparisons to blockbuster films like Ocean’s Eleven and television dramas like CSI.

The gold weighing a 419 kilograms (923 pounds), was securely stored in the cargo facility of the airport. The perpetrators aided by insiders exploited their positions within Air Canada to orchestrate the theft.

A fraudulent bill crafted to mimic a legitimate document, was presented to an unsuspecting airline warehouse attendant. This bill falsely claiming to be for seafood was used to pick up the gold, which was loaded onto a truck.

Among those in the crime are an Air Canada warehouse employee and a former manager who provided authorities with a tour of the cargo facility post-theft.

Police suspect that the stolen gold was melted down and sold, with the proceeds used to purchase illegal firearms.

The investigation transcended borders with cooperation between Canadian authorities and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives leading to the arrest of one individual in the U.S. who possessed 65 illegal firearms.

Only a fraction of the stolen assets has been recovered. With just CA$90,000 ($65,000) retrieved thus far, the majority of the stolen gold remains unaccounted.

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