It sounded like a story out of another era or out of a movie. On April 17, thieves stole of gold and other valuables from Pearson Airport.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority was quick to issue a statement about what happened.
“The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is aware of the theft that took place this week. 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.”
This got us thinking, “has this ever happened before?”. Of course, it has, as we found out when we queried ChatGPT. -Editors.
While there have been instances of airport heists in Canada, they are relatively rare and sporadic. Here are a few notable cases:
- 2015 – Thieves stole $150,000 in cash from a Loomis armored truck that was parked on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The thieves used pepper spray to incapacitate the driver and then made off with the cash in a waiting vehicle.
- 2013 – A group of thieves stole $1.5 million worth of gold bars from a cargo plane at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport. The thieves posed as police officers and used a truck to block the path of the armored truck carrying the gold bars. They then tied up the two guards and made off with the gold.
- 1998 – Thieves stole $18 million worth of diamonds from an Air Canada cargo facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The thieves used a stolen airport security pass to gain access to the facility and then used a forklift to break into the vault where the diamonds were being stored.
- 1997 – A group of thieves stole $11 million worth of jewelry from an Air Canada cargo facility at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport. The thieves used a forklift to break into the facility and then loaded the jewelry onto a waiting truck.
Overall, airport heists in Canada are relatively rare and typically involve thieves targeting high-value cargo or cash that is being transported through the airport.
Of course, Canada’s history of airport heists pales in comparison to the biggest capers ever undertaken, which ChatGPT explained to us.
Here are some of the largest airport heists in history:
- Heathrow Airport, UK (2003) – The Securitas depot was robbed of £53 million ($92 million USD) in cash by a group of men dressed as police officers and armed with guns. This is considered one of the largest cash robberies in history.
- Schiphol Airport, Netherlands (2005) – Thieves stole $118 million worth of diamonds from a KLM cargo hold at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The thieves used a stolen KLM truck and fake documents to gain access to the cargo hold.
- O’Hare International Airport, USA (1985) – A group of thieves stole $18.9 million worth of cash and jewelry from a Lufthansa cargo facility at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The heist was later linked to the organized crime group known as the “Chicago Outfit.”
- Brussels Airport, Belgium (2013) – Thieves stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a Swiss International Air Lines plane that was parked on the tarmac at Brussels Airport. The thieves used two vehicles to crash through the airport fence and then drove up to the plane, where they made off with the diamonds.
These airport heists involved significant planning and execution, and resulted in large amounts of money or valuable goods being stolen.