Nine People, Including an Airline Worker, Are Arrested in $14.5 Million Gold Heist

It was a brazen theft: thousands of gold bars and millions of dollars in bank notes stolen a year ago from Toronto’s international airport.

On Wednesday, Canadian authorities announced the arrest of nine people, including an Air Canada employee, in connection with the theft of more than 20 million Canadian dollars, about $14.5 million, in gold bars and 2.5 million dollars, about $1.8 million, in bank notes that vanished from a warehouse at Toronto Pearson Airport in April 2023.

Arrest warrants have also been issued for three other people, including a manager at the airline.

“This story is a sensational one,” Nishan Duraiappah, chief of the Peel Regional Police, said at a news conference on Wednesday, where he stood in front of a truck he said was used in the heist. “One we jokingly say belongs in a Netflix series.” The Peel police are responsible for law enforcement at Toronto’s airport.

The gold, Chief Duraiappah said, was partly used to buy guns that were bound for Canada. The man who drove the truck used in the gold theft was arrested in Pennsylvania in September after a police officer stopped a rental car he was driving for a traffic violation and found 65 guns, two of which were fully automatic rifles. The man has been charged with conspiracy to illegally traffic firearms into Canada.

It is unclear if that arrest and a separate investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the United States into the firearms smuggling revealed the broader theft plot. Eric DeGree, a special agent for the A.T.F. who was at the news conference, said that the agency contacted the Peel police after finding the man’s name in a police information database.

The gold theft, which Chief Duraiappah said was Canada’s largest, appeared to be remarkably simple. The gold and cash arrived at the Toronto airport in a special container aboard an Air Canada flight from Switzerland on April 17, 2023, and was moved to one of the airline’s warehouses.

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