$15 million in gold and other valuables stolen in Toronto airport

Police in Canada are investigating after an air freight container containing nearly $15 million in gold and other valuables disappeared from Toronto Pearson International Airport on Monday.

A plane that arrived at the often busy airport in the early evening had been unloaded, with the cargo taken to a holding facility “as per normal procedure,” Peel Regional Police Inspector Stephen Duivesteyn told a news conference.

What happened to the precious cargo once it was unloaded is a mystery, and Duivesteyn told reporters that it was somehow removed “by illegal means.”

The load was reported missing to Peel Regional Police a short time later and an investigation was launched, he said.

It̵[ads1]7;s not clear exactly how much gold was inside the cargo container or what other valuables it had, but Duivesteyn said the total estimated value of the contents was just over $20 million CAD (around $14.8 million).

“It contained gold but was not exclusive to gold and contained other items of monetary value,” he said.

Duivesteyn did not elaborate on where the plane carrying the cargo came from, or on its intended final destination.

No suspects had been identified as of early Friday morning.

Peel Police Inspector Stephen Duivesteyn speaks at Toronto Pearson International Airport.Canadian Press / Alamy Live News

The incident appears to represent one of Canada’s largest robberies, but it is not the first to take place at one of the country’s airports.

In 1990, another Canadian airport robbery made headlines after armed thieves ambushed a private jet and made off with nearly $13.7 million in gold bullion and other valuables, according to earlier Associated Press reporting. The incident was considered one of Canada’s largest robberies at the time.

That robbery, carried out at Dorval International Airport outside Montreal, reportedly saw at least four men, including one armed with a Soviet-made AK-47 assault rifle, use a stolen garbage truck to tear through a fence before stealing the goods in stolen vans. A pipe bomb had also exploded miles away under a construction trailer at the airport, in what police had called a “diversion tactic” at the time.

In 1952, an apparent theft at Malton Airport, which preceded Toronto Pearson International Airport, saw gold bars worth a total of $215,000 CAD at the time disappear in a crime that remains unsolved, according to The Toronto Star.

Monday’s robbery has also drawn references to the so-called “Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist” in 2012, which saw nearly 3,000 tonnes of syrup valued at $18.7 million CAD stolen from a storage facility in Quebec, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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