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How Did the Toronto Airport Lose $15.3 Million in Gold Bars?

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How in the world did the Toronto airport lose $15.3 million in gold bars along with $1.9 million in cash?

That remains unclear, but a lawsuit filed by Brink’s shed a little bit of light on the situation.

The Peel Regional Police at Toronto Pearson International Airport issued a statement last April saying a container holding valuable goods was unloaded from an aircraft, transported to a warehouse, and then disappeared. According to a New York Times report, authorities “seemed baffled” at the time and offered little additional information.

According to the lawsuit, Brink’s was responsible for transporting cash and gold from Switzerland to Canada. The shipment was in two separate containers. The cash – $1.9 million – was supposed to go to a Vancouver-based currency exchange. Meanwhile, a shipment of 400 kilos of gold bars valued at $15.3 million was heading to Toronto-Dominion Bank.

The shipment was through an Air Canada service called AC Secure. Perhaps they should rename it “AC Secure-ish.”

According to the lawsuit, the cash and gold were quickly offloaded from the aircraft and taken to an Air Canada warehouse for customs inspection. About 40 minutes later, an “unidentified individual” entered the warehouse. According to the lawsuit, “No security protocols or features were in place to monitor, restrict or otherwise regulate the unidentified individual’s access to the facilities.”

The lawsuit contends the mystery person simply showed Air Canada employees a waybill for an “unrelated shipment,” and the employees released the cash and gold – no questions asked. As the lawsuit put it, the person “absconded with the cargo.”

The lawsuit implies it might have been an inside job.

Now, if you think that Air Canada is responsible for the value of the lost cargo, you haven’t ever lost luggage on an international flight. Brink’s can expect to recover about 1% of the $17.2 million loss. Thus the lawsuit. As the New York Times explains, “Brink’s contends that the extra fees it paid for the secure service mean that Air Canada must now reimburse it for the full amount of the missing cash and gold.”

We’ll see how that works out for them.

Meanwhile, police say they have nothing new to add.

The cops may or may not catch the perpetrators of the heist, but I’d bet dollars to donuts the cash and gold are long gone.  All the thieves have to do is melt down the gold bars and reform them, and they will be totally unrecognizable. After all, gold is gold. And cash isn’t particularly easy to trace either. This is why governments have launched a war on cash.

There is a lesson here. People want gold. If you have it, you need to make sure it’s secure.

SchiffGold can help with that. Check out our recommended vaulting services. Or if you prefer to keep your gold at home, consider a high-quality safe.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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