An Ontario man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after he stole gold “pucks” from the Royal Canadian mint by putting them in his rectum to avoid metal detectors.
In November, Ontario Court judge Peter Doody convicted Leston Lawrence of theft. However, the Crown’s case is built on circumstantial evidence because nobody actually witnessed Lawrence take the gold pucks, and there is no video evidence of him doing so.
Lawrence worked at the Mint from July 2008 to March 2015 as an operator and acting refiner.
In February 2015 a bank employee grew suspicious of Lawrence after he asked to deposit two cheques worth $7,992.27 and $7,269.63 from Ottawa Gold Buyers.
The bank employee asked Lawrence what he sold to Ottawa Gold Buyers. Lawrence told her he had sold “gold nuggets” to the shop.
The teller proceeded to check Lawrence’s bank records and saw he was an employee at the Mint. The bank tipped off the RCMP about Lawrence and he was put under surveillance.
In March 2015, a safety deposit box belonging to Lawrence was searched by the RCMP, and they found a pouch containing four gold pucks. An assay chemist at the Mint found that “the composition of the puck taken from the safety deposit box was consistent with pucks made (…) at the Mint.”
Lawrence’s private locker was also searched. A jar of Vaseline and blue latex gloves were found, which Doody said, “could have been used to facilitate insertion of gold inside his rectum.” Lawrence also set off the metal detectors at the Mint more than any other employee.
Judge Doody charged Lawrence with five offences and concluded that he stole 22 gold pucks from the Mint and sold 18 to Ottawa Gold Buyers.