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Former investigator reveals theory on police's radio silence since Toronto Pearson gold heist

A month after $20 million worth of gold was stolen in a heist at Toronto Pearson Airport, a former RCMP investigator says he has a theory why authorities have been radio silent since announcing the theft.

Peel police announced during a press conference in April that a "high-value container" was mysteriously stolen from a holding cargo facility after it was unloaded from a plane.

A gold heist took place at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont. on April 17, 2023.

It was the only time police publicly provided new information about the heist. No details on suspects have ever been released.

Retired RCMP major-crime investigator Bruce Pitt-Payne told CTV News Toronto that while this may lead people to think the investigation has gone cold, he believes it's for the exact opposite reason.

"My professional guess would be it is because they have some good information and they're working on it," Pitt-Payne said. "But it's important to remember, one month in is still very early into this."


The stolen gold was offloaded from an Air Canada plane and was being handled by their employees when it disappeared on April 17, a source familiar with the investigation said.

According to The Globe and Mail, the plane arrived in Toronto from Zurich on Air Canada flight 881. Tracking website FlightRadar24 shows the flight, operated by a Boeing 777, departed Zurich at 1:53 p.m. local time, arrived in Toronto at 4:05 p.m., and parked at a gate located in Terminal 1.

An Air Canada Boeing 777 is seen on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport. (Twitter / @TomPodolec)

Police said the cargo was offloaded and transported to a separate location where it was reported missing a short time later.

Private security and protection company Brink’s told CTV News Toronto after the heist they were responsible for co-ordinating the shipment.

CTV News Toronto contacted Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority who both said updates to the investigation will be handled through Peel police. A spokesperson for Brink's said the company has no new information to share.

Pitt-Payne said police are very strategic when releasing information about ongoing cases, and that no new information doesn't mean they don’t have leads.He said releasing information would either have to benefit the investigation or public safety.

He also said no arrests or suspect information being released is not a surprise with an investigation "of this magnitude."

"The first thing that police do is a matter of exclusion of suspects," he said. "They will be looking through all the people that had any link to the airline, the airline industry, and the airport. They're going to be excluding or going through a method of exclusion by interviewing every single person and looking very deeply into their backgrounds."

He said police will also be looking very carefully to see if there was any deviation in standard procedure when offloading and storing the gold at Toronto Pearson.

"Was something done differently than the way it should be? If so, police will say 'Okay, that's odd. Let's look at who should have done that.'"


Pitt-Payne he still believes the heist was carried out by someone who either worked on the inside or knew someone with knowledge about the gold.

A view of Toronto Pearson Airport on Friday, a day after a $20M heist was announced. (CTV News Toronto)

"It just doesn't seem logical to think it was just a good guess to go into that building," he said.

While Pitt-Payne said he believes police likely aren't releasing new information because they have good leads, his opinion on that may change as the investigation drags on.

"Six months from now, I may have a different answer if they still haven't released anything," he said. "They're going to be shaking a lot of trees hoping that something falls out." Top Stories

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