A container carrying gold and other "high value" items worth at least $20 million Canadian (more than $14.8 million U.S.), was stolen Monday from Toronto's Pearson Airport, police said.
The cargo arrived in an aircraft early in the evening, Peel Regional Police inspector Stephen Duivesteyn told reporters on Thursday. The container was then unloaded and transported to a holding facility, in accordance with the airport's standard procedures for air cargo.
Sometime after this, the roughly five square-foot container was "removed by illegal means" and reported missing to the police shortly afterward.
"The container contained a high value shipment," Inspector Duivesteyn said. "It did contain gold, but was not exclusive to gold, and contained other items of monetary value."
Police weren't able to confirm the cargo's final destination, nor if the theft was related to organized crime or professional thieves. They also weren't sure if the gold is still in the country.
Inspector Duivesteyn emphasized that while this sort of heist is "very rare," it is an isolated incident that poses no ongoing threat to public safety. Operations at Pearson would continue to run normally, he 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," the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, said in a statement to CBS News.
In 1953, 10 boxes of gold bars on their way to Montreal vanished from Pearson (then Malton Airport) in a heist that has never been solved, according to the Toronto Star.
Eighty years later, Duivesteyn seemed determined not to let history repeat itself.
"Our goal right now is to solve this theft," he assured reporters. "Our team is assembled. They are working diligently on this case."
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