Canadian police are currently investigating the disappearance of an air cargo container hosting nearly $15 million in gold and other rarities. It vanished from the bustling Toronto Pearson International airport on Monday, April 14.
Peel Regional Police Inspector Stephen Duivesteyn claimed at a press conference that an aircraft carrying the cargo arrived in the early evening, emphasizing that the container was moved to a holding facility “as per normal procedure.”
It is widely speculated that the container was removed from the holding facility via illegal means.
What Exactly Was In the Missing Cargo Container?
Canadian police are investigating the disappearance of nearly $15 million in gold and other valuable items from an air cargo container at a Toronto airport https://t.co/56Rz7WgGxQ— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 21, 2023
The exact amount of gold held within the container was not made public, nor were the other valuables which it contained. However, according to Duivesteyn, the estimated worth of its contents was almost $15 million.
Duivesteyn would not expound upon the aircraft’s destination or place of origin, nor would he reveal where the gold and other valuables were intended to be distributed.
A History of Gold Heists at Toronto Pearson
Gold heist at Canada’s Pearson International Airport estimated at US$14m https://t.co/m9RKXjIFLe pic.twitter.com/QYamI8iMeE— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 22, 2023
While $15 million worth of materials going missing is an anomalous event, it is certainly not Toronto Pearson’s first heist.
In 1952, $215,000 worth of gold was reported stolen from the airport, which today would be worth around $2.35 million. The thieves were never apprehended.
According to Toronto’s CTV News, “Some people pointed their fingers at Howard Halpenny, then 22 years old, as Selby said he was the cargo holder responsible for getting the gold onto the plane.”
However, authorities could not find any damning evidence to incriminate Halpenny.
What Are Some Other Famed Heists?
Recent airport gold heist in Canada may be the largest, but not the first https://t.co/Kl8d0PUVdg— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 21, 2023
Airport heists—especially of the magnitude of Toronto Pearson’s recent incident—are certainly uncommon. But there have been other thieves who have managed to pull them off.
The most historically significant gold heist, known as the Brink’s-Mat armed robbery, occurred nearby Heathrow Airport in London, England on November 26, 1983.
Six men stole around $46 million (today worth roughly $125 million) worth of gold bullion from the Brink’s-Mat warehouse. They had been assisted by a security guard who was in on the crime.
Unlike the Toronto Pearson heists, all responsible parties in the Brink’s-Mat armed robbery were apprehended by authorities.
Also notable is the Lufthansa holdup of 1978, during which $6 million in both cash and jewelry were robbed from a cargo terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. This incident is perhaps best known for being dramatized in Martin Scorsese’s hit film Goodfellas.