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Video shows Toronto Pearson airport heist suspect taking off with more than $22M in gold, cash

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Video of the moment a suspect left Toronto Pearson International Airport with more than $22 million in gold and cash has been released by police.

Police released new details about the largest gold heist in Canadian history and announced the arrests of several individuals in connection with the incident on the one-year anniversary of the robbery on Wednesday.

Det.-Sgt. Mike Mavity, the major case manager for the joint investigation, dubbed Project 24K, told reporters the shipment of gold and foreign currency arrived at Pearson from Zurich, Switzerland on an Air Canada plane at approximately 3:56 p.m. on April 17, 2023.

Once the shipment touched down, Mavity said it was offloaded to an Air Canada cargo facility. At 6:32 p.m., one of the suspects arrived at the facility in a five-tonne truck and produced a fake air waybill to an Air Canada warehouse attendant.

The video released by police shows a forklift carrying the shipment and loading it onto the suspect’s truck. After making sure the load is secure, the suspect closes the truck and drives off.

The shipment included 6,600 gold bars of 99.9 per cent purity and weighed more than 400 kilograms. Police said the gold was valued at $20 million by today’s estimates and the cash totalled roughly $2.5 million.

It wasn’t until 9:30 p.m. when Brink’s Canada, the company hired to provide security and logistics services for the transportation of the shipment, arrived at the facility to pick up the container that Air Canada employees realized it was missing, police said.

A suspect involved in the multi-million dollar gold heist at Toronto Pearson International Airport on April 17, 2023 is seen loading the stolen goods onto a truck. (Peel Regional Police)

Mavity said Peel Regional Police were notified about the stolen goods shortly before 3 a.m. the following day.

What followed was four weeks of canvassing local businesses and residences in the area for video surveillance that may have captured footage of the truck leaving. After reviewing the video surveillance of over 225 separate businesses and residences in Peel Region and the surrounding area, Mavity said investigators were able to determine the route the suspect took after the heist.

Additional video released by police shows portions of the truck’s trip following the robbery, as well as a map illustrating the driver’s route.

It’s believed the driver travelled westbound on Britannia Road East before heading southbound on Dixie Road and westbound on Highway 401.

The truck then continued westbound into Halton Region before going northbound on Bronte Road into Milton. At that point, Mavity said, police lost their surveillance of the truck.

The truck was eventually located in Peel Region after the driver, identified by police as 25-year-old Brampton resident Durante King-McLean, was pulled over by Pennsylvania State Police in a separate incident in September 2023.

Peel police show the route a truck carrying more than $22M worth of gold and foreign currency took following a heist at Toronto Pearson International Airport on April 17, 2023. (Peel Regional Police)

At that time, Mavity said, King-McLean was detained after a brief foot chase and troopers located 65 illegal firearms in his vehicle. King-McLean is currently in U.S. custody but wanted by police in Peel on charges of theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.

“Through, obviously, identifying the driver, it made it a bit easier for us to find the truck," he said.

Five other suspects were also arrested and charged but have since been conditionally released. Three other suspects are wanted on Canada-wide warrants.

Police said at least two of the suspects were Air Canada employees at the time of the heist.

So far, only $89,000 of the stolen gold has been recovered by police, Mavity said. Police also seized $450,000 in Canadian currency, which investigators believe is a portion of the profits made from the sale of the stolen gold. 

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