Mint employee who hid stolen gold in his rectum gets 30 months behind bars
A man who stole gold “pucks” from the Royal Canadian Mint by hiding them in his rectum to evade metal detectors has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Leston Lawrence was convicted of theft in November by Ontario Court judge Peter Doody, who noted in his ruling the case was based on circumstantial evidence.
The judge said a penitentiary term was needed to deter others; Lawrence’s lawyer had argued for an 18-month sentence.
At trial, Doody noted there was no video of Lawrence stealing the gold, and there were no witnesses.
Court heard that Lawrence, whose job at the mint involved purifying recently procured gold, sometimes worked alone and out of sight of security cameras in a process that involved creating the pucks.
He worked at the mint from 2008 until March 2015.
Lawrence aroused suspicion in a bank employee in February 2015 after he asked to cash two cheques worth $15,200 from Ottawa Gold Buyers. Lawrence told the teller he had sold “gold nuggets” when she asked what the money was for, said court records.
The bank tipped off police, who then put Lawrence under surveillance.
Lawrence set off the metal detector more often than any other mint employee without metal implants, Doody said in his ruling. But follow-up searches with hand wands never discovered the smuggled gold hidden in his body cavity.
Police eventually seized a gold puck that Lawrence had sold and found four more in his safety deposit box.
Vaseline and latex gloves were later found in Lawrence’s locker, which Doody said “could have been used to facilitate insertion of gold items inside his rectum.”
Doody ruled Lawrence had stolen 22 gold pucks from the mint worth $165,451.14.