Nine suspects arrested in $24M gold heist at Toronto Pearson International Airport: Peel police

Nine suspects wanted in connection with the gold heist at Pearson International Airport last year have now been identified by investigators, Peel Regional Police say.

At a news conference Wednesday on the one-year anniversary of the heist, police announced that two of the suspects were employed with Air Canada at the time of the heist.

Police said 19 charges have been laid and Canada-wide warrants have been issued for the arrest of three of the suspects who have not yet been apprehended.

During a news conference on Wednesday morning, police said 6,600 gold bars were stolen from Air Canada’s cargo facility on the evening of April 17, 2023 by a suspect who arrived to the warehouse in a five-tonne truck.

The gold, along with about $2.5 million in foreign currency, had been shipped to Toronto from Zurich in the hull of an Air Canada plane and was offloaded to an Air Canada cargo facility shortly after landing at Pearson Airport that afternoon. 

Six pure gold bracelets worth an estimated $89,000 were recovered as part of an investigation into a gold heist at Toronto Pearson airport and are displayed in this image from Peel police. (Handout)

Police allege that the suspect came into possession of the stolen gold and bank notes after presenting Air Canada personnel with a fraudulent airway bill.

“The airway bill was for a legitimate shipment of seafood that was picked up the day before,” Det.-Sgt. Mike Mavity, the major case manager for the joint investigation, dubbed Project 24K, told reporters on Wednesday.

“This duplicate airway bill was printed off from a printer within Air Canada cargo.”

Mavity said a forklift arrived a short time later and loaded the stolen gold and currency into the back of the truck. The suspect then drove off with the gold bars, which were estimated to be worth about $20 million.

Brinks Canada, which was hired to provide security and logistics services for the transportation of the shipment, showed up at the facility a few hours later to pick up the items.

Police said Air Canada employees tried to locate the container, realized it was missing, and quickly launched in an internal investigation. Police were notified about the stolen goods shortly before 3 a.m. the following day, Mavity said.

Police said Wednesday that the suspect investigators have identified as the driver of the truck is currently in custody in the United States and is now wanted for multiple offences in connection with this investigation, including theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.

This is a breaking news story. More to come.

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