Real Shipping Container Heist of $10 Million in Silver Could Be Movie
What: 16,000 kilograms (35,274 pounds) or 16 metric tons of silver bars worth 10 million dollars.
Where: In a Maersk–only the world’s biggest shipping company–shipping container at the Port of Montreal.
When: Broad daylight on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2015.
The what, where, and when present the perfect setup for a heist movie. Only this is not a movie. 10 million dollars in silver was actually stolen in broad daylight out of the Port of Montreal last Wednesday.
The heist required stealing a truck: a white 1997 Freightliner. Once the truck was obtained, the thieves had to get past port security, load the Maersk shipping container full of silver onto the truck, and drive out of the port with it.
We just posted a blog on tips to avoid cargo theft by identity theft that includes thieves posing as truck drivers to steal cargo directly from shippers. Obviously, it is not only shippers who have to watch out for fictitious pick-ups, but ports too.
Either the Port of Montreal’s security has major holes or the thieves were very good because they got their stolen truck in and got out with the cargo container of silver in the middle of the day without even a picture of one of the thieves getting taken to be put out to the public to help the police catch them.
Between the Port of Montreal’s biometric security measures and about 350 surveillance cameras, one would think the thieves were really good rather than the port’s security is bad.
Really, all this is missing to be a Hollywood movie is one of the thieves being good-hearted with an unfortunate past that is only doing this one last job to get his daughter a life-saving operation and set them up for a crime-free life moving forward. Of course, he would also have to be betrayed by the other thief, who happens to be his oldest friend, who talked him into the heist in the first place.
Even without the Hollywood plot additions, there is plenty of drama to make this brazen heist a good story.
Montreal police immediately turned to the public in their search for the semi-trailer full of silver bars.
Three days later, CBC News reported the Maersk shipping container had been found, but the 16 tons of silver were, of course, no longer inside:
The Maersk container lifted from the port was found on Saturday afternoon on St-Paul Street in Repentigny, a small city just off the northeast tip of the island of Montreal.
It appears to have been detached from the semi-trailer — also stolen — that was carrying it, and left on the side of a residential street.
The police continued reaching out to the public and it paid off. According to CTV News, tips from the public led to the arrest of five suspects as well as the recovery of some of the silver:
Five men have been arrested in connection with the theft of $10 million worth of silver bars that went missing from a shipping container at the Port of Montreal last week.
Police said approximately one third of the 16,000 kilograms of silver has been recovered, after about a dozen raids conducted overnight in homes, warehouses and an industrial property in suburban Montreal.
Tips from the public led to the raids and the arrests of the five men, who are between 35 and 53 years old, police said. At least one of them is known to police.
As good as the thieves may have been, it appears that they were caught in the end. Perhaps not the Hollywood ending for the good-hearted thief and his dying daughter, but those characters were fictional anyway.
If it makes you feel better, in our imaginations the good-hearted thief got away with the other two-thirds of the silver and got his daughter that life-saving operation. And a pony, too.
Back to reality, the heroes are not the crooks, but the police and public who caught the culprits.
While this heist makes me consider writing the screenplay, the whole episode should be just one more reminder for shippers to always get cargo insurance.