OTTAWA, Sept. 21 (UPI) — An employee at the Royal Canadian Mint is accused of stealing $180,000 worth of gold by secreting it in his rectum to bypass mint security.
The case against 35-year-old Leston Lawrence alleges he smuggled out 18 gold “pucks” weighing 210 grams each (just under a half-pound) and sold them to Ottawa Gold Buyers, according to Global News.
“This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” defense lawyer Gary Barnes said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.”
Lawrence’s alleged smuggling was uncovered by a teller at the Royal Bank who was alerted at the size and number of checks he deposited.
The case states Lawrence would receive checks of about $6,800 from Ottawa Gold Buyers and deposit them at a Royal Bank branch in the same shopping plaza, which led to a probe that uncovered four gold pucks in his safety deposit box.
According to records, 18 pucks and dozens of gold coins were stolen between Nov. 27, 2014, and March 12, 2015, totaling $179,015.
Lawrence set off the mint’s metal detector more often than other employees, but regularly passed a second manual search with a hand-held wand.
Lawrence was terminated following the incident, but Justice Peter Doody reserved decision on the case until Nov. 9.