Gold heist at Canada’s busiest airport estimated at $14m

A container carrying ‘high-value’ items was stolen after being unloaded from a plane at a cargo facility at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Police said the robbery was 'very rare' and arrests have yet to be made [File: Gerry Broome/AP]

Canadian police are investigating a major gold heist at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport after millions of dollars of the precious metal and other valuables went missing.

Thieves made off with more than US$14m in gold and other valuables on Monday, police revealed on Thursday.

Regional Police Inspector Stephen Duivesteyn told the Toronto Star newspaper that a container was stolen after being unloaded from a plane at a cargo facility.

“What I can say is that the container [had] a high-value shipment,” Duivesteyn told the Star. “It did contain gold but was not exclusive to gold and contained other items of monetary value.”

Duivesteyn said the robbery was “very rare” and no arrests had been made.

“Our investigators have got their eyes open to all avenues,” he said. “… We’re looking at all angles on how this item was stolen.”

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority said in a statement that thieves accessed the public side of a warehouse leased to a third party and outside its primary security line.

Gold mined in Canada is frequently held at Pearson Airport before it is flown overseas. Almost half of Canada’s air cargo goes through the airport.

In 1952, gold bars valued at about $2.5m today were stolen from the facility, and no suspects were ever identified.

Monday’s theft marks one of the biggest in Canada’s history, including a maple syrup heist in 2011 and 2012 in which thieves siphoned off 9,600 barrels valued at $15m to $20m from a warehouse in Quebec province.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies