Going for gold: Mint employee accused of smuggling $180k of gold in his rectum
Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:21PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:22PM EDT
An unusual Canadian news story is getting plenty of attention from international press, and the headlines pretty much sum up the story.
From Russia Today: “Laying the Golden Eggs.”
From CNN: “Canadian Mint employee may have smuggled gold where the sun don’t shine.”
And, as German broadcaster Deutsche Welle delicately put it: “Canadian Mint employee accused of stealing gold hidden up his bum.”
Indeed, Barrhaven, Ont. resident Leston Lawrence, 38, is a hot topic at water coolers this week as he stands trial for allegedly stealing $180,000 of gold pucks from the Royal Canadian Mint and trading them for cash at an Ottawa mall.
Court documents allege that Lawrence carried out the inside job by smuggling the gold in a hiding place few security guards would think to check.
The Crown alleges that Lawrence tried to leave the mint with stolen gold hidden up his rectum on several occasions. Alarms sounded each time he attempted to pass through a security checkpoint, the Crown alleges, but a subsequent pat-down by security guards was unable get to the bottom of the security breach.
CTV News has obtained exclusive security camera footage showing the suspect pass through a security checkpoint inside the Royal Canadian Mint. In two separate instances, he removes his shoes, walks through a metal detector and a security guard uses a handheld metal detector to search him.
The Crown alleges that Lawrence then sold the gold at a cash-for-gold store in an Ottawa mall and cashed the cheques at a nearby bank.
A crack emerged in the alleged plot when a bank teller reported the unusual transactions to police, the Crown told the court.
Lawrence was later charged with five criminal offences, including possession of property obtained by crime and theft over $5,000. He was also fired from the Mint.
But Justice Peter Doody heard a different set of events from defense lawyers, who say there is no direct link between the gold pucks and the Mint.
The Crown has argued that the gold matches a dipping spoon, a special mould unique to the Mint, which they say confirms the alleged theft.
The Mint says it has installed new high-definition security cameras and upgraded its security checkpoint system in recent months.
With a report from CTV's Kevin Gallagher in Ottawa