Thieves have pulled off an audacious heist at an airport which saw them escape with £12,000,000 (C$20m) worth of gold and valuables.
Canadian police are investigating the ‘very rare’ theft after high-value items were stolen from a holding facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The expensive cargo is believed to have been snatched from a container after it had arrived on an aircraft and was transported to the facility on Monday evening.
The airport is often used to ship gold mined in Ontario province and the heist, which is reminiscent of an action movie or Netflix series plot, could mark one of the biggest in Canada’s history.
Previously, the country’s most valuable heist was a huge criminal operation carried out over several months in 2011 and 2012 to steal maple syrup worth more than £11,000,000 (C$18.7m).
Thieves managed to syphon 3,000 tonnes of syrup from barrels at a storage facility in Quebec and replace it with water in a huge case dubbed The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist.
Peel Regional Police is leading the airport heist probe and inspector Stephen Duivesteyn said yesterday: ‘Once this cargo was offloaded at a holding facility, subsequent to its arrival, this high-value container was removed by illegal means.’
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) said it is aware of the theft that took place.
A spokesman said: ‘The GTAA wishes to clarify that thieves accessed the public side of a warehouse that is leased to a third party, outside of our primary security line.
‘This did not involve access to Toronto Pearson itself and did not pose a threat to passengers or GTAA staff.’
Mr Duivesteyn did not confirm where the aircraft carrying the cargo had come from or where it was heading, but said police are investigating “all avenues”, reports Toronto City News.
He said: ‘Our goal is to solve this theft, I cannot provide exact details. What I can say is we feel this to be an isolated incident.
‘For the public worried about flying out, there should be no concern.
‘We do not consider this a threat to public safety.’
He confirmed the aircraft container was around 5 sq ft in size, but would not say how much it weighed.
Officials have also said it is too early to say whether the incident was tied to local organised crime gangs.
‘This is a rare event, certainly,’ he added.
In the UK, £5,000,000 was recently stolen from a cash depot after a masked gang snuck in under a truck.
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