Saturday, April 13, 2024

Man Nearly Pulls Off The Boldest Gold Heist Ever

When you’re working at the Royal Canadian Mint employee, it’s probably hard not to wonder what would happen if you dropped a few gold nuggets into your pocket on the way to clocking out.

Or, in this former employee’s case, wondering what would fit up which orifice and make it past a metal detector unnoticed.  

Leston Lawrence took a total of 22 gold pucks, worth $165,000, and laundered 18 of those, worth $138,000, from the Royal Mint while working there. How did he pull off the heist? Let’s just say authorities found plastic gloves and Vaseline jelly in his work locker.

He transported the pucks, which are the size of “a small muffin” with the circumference of a silver dollar, through the building’s security gates and past a guard with a wand. In watching the footage posted on CBC, you can tell he’s walking a little funny — and doesn’t bend at all to put on his shoes after the screening. For good reason.

The metal detector went off when he walked through it, but when he was passed over with a wand, nothing happened. Turns out, those wands are really bad at finding what’s hiding in a body cavity. He likely thought he had a pretty good game going, repeating this process 22 times over four months.

The prosecution for this case deserves a gold… um… star: Kelly Egan, a reporter for the Ottawa Star, said in an interview:

There was testimony from the security people that they had actually tested this on a human being. And that when that person went through the metal detector, it went off. But when the person was given the secondary wand test, it didn’t go off. So to them this was further evidence that indeed this could very well have been the method by which these “pucks” had left the Mint.

Lawrence has been found guilty of possession of property obtained by crime, conveying gold out of the mint, and breach of trust by a public official, the CBC reports, and will go to sentencing on November 28.  

Just for shits and giggles, it’s worth noting the judge’s name for this case: Judge Peter Doody.


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