Millions in loot is missing from Toronto Pearson airport, and a thief is still on the loose. Where’s Sherlock Holmes when you need him?
A mystery remains unsolved at Canada’s largest airport, where $23.8 million in gold and cash was stolen from an Air Canada warehouse earlier this year after a bold burglar showed a fake ID and gained access.
It’s a tale that has since led to a legal drama worthy of a Netflix series.
Brink's, a cash handling and security company, filed a lawsuit against Air Canada last month, accusing the airline of “negligence and carelessness” over the stolen goods.
The company alleges Air Canada failed to mark a shipment containing 882 pounds of gold bars— reportedly valued at roughly $15.1 million—and $1.9 million in banknotes as “valuable cargo” while it was being stored at Toronto Pearson airport.
The suit, which was filed Oct. 6 in Canada’s Federal Court, also claims Air Canada failed to provide adequate security and protection for the big-ticket shipment before it was snatched from the facility.
According to the suit, the shipment arrived at Air Canada’s warehouse at around 5:50 p.m. EST on April 17, 40 minutes before an “unidentified individual” showed up with fraudulent documents to pick the shipment up as “no security protocols or features were in place to monitor, restrict or otherwise regulate” access to the facility.
Brink’s is now seeking reimbursement from Air Canada for the stolen treasure, in addition to other unspecified costs.
The shipment is still missing, the police investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made.
Not our fault, says Air Canada
Air Canada, meanwhile, is firing back, rejecting Brink’s claims, saying Monday (Nov. 20) that it’s not responsible for the crime.
In a statement of defence, Air Canada rejected Brink's allegations, saying it fulfilled its carriage contract, denying any careless or improper conduct, the Canadian Press reports.
Air Canada also says Brink's failed to note the value of the cargo on its waybill, and that if Brink's did incur losses, a multilateral treaty, called the Montreal Convention, would cap the airline’s liability.
"Brink’s Switzerland Ltd. elected for its own reasons not to declare a value for carriage and to pay the standard rate for the AC Secure services product and, to Air Canada’s knowledge, elected not to insure these shipments," the Air Canada filing reads, noting that Brink's was "fully aware of the consequences."
The gold apparently was bound for Toronto-Dominion Bank, while the cash was heading to the Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange.
Brink's arranged in mid-April for Air Canada to fly the precious cargo to Toronto from Switzerland, reports say.
And because Brink's failed to pay an extra fee or a make a "special declaration of interest in delivery," Air Canada is not liable for losses, the airline’s statement of defence claims.
Brink's filing, however, sees it differently, arguing that it did pay a premium and the waybills were marked as "banknotes" and "goldbars," on top of a warning on the paperwork: "Special supervision is requested. Valuable cargo."