How to Steal Tons of Silver Worth 11 Million Dollars

One of the 596 silver ingots that were stolen in January 2020. Photo: Toronto Police Service.
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In January 2020, tons of silver ingots disappeared in a bold theft in Montreal, Canada. They are worth the incredible amount of 11 million US dollars. Even two years after the theft, surprisingly little is known about the exact course of events. The perpetrators have not been caught either. Now the Toronto police have asked the public for help and, for the first time, have given specific information about the stolen silver.

This is the shipping container in which the silver disappeared. Photo: Toronto Police Service.

How to Steal Silver Worth 11 Million Dollars

Considering the size of the theft, there is surprisingly little evidence. Let’s summarise what we know by now about the crime that happened in January 2020. The crime scene: the premises of a transportation company in LaSalle, a borough of the city of Montreal. Silver ingots worth 11 million dollars were stolen here.

If you are somewhat familiar with the silver price, you will conclude immediately that it was not possible for the perpetrators to steal such an amount of silver using a wheelbarrow as the thieves at the Berlin Bode Museum did in 2017. Given the ingots’ material value of 11 million dollars, the 596 pieces must have had a weight of 15,000 to 20,000 kilos! The silver was stored in a large shipping container, which leads to the assumption that the ingots had been unloaded at the nearby port of the city and temporarily stored at the transportation company. This very shipping container was stolen. How did the thieves do that? Apparently, it wasn’t a breakneck cloak-and-dagger operation but a fraud. Everything the Montreal police disclosed about it is this sentence: “The suspects allegedly took possession of the shipment using forged documents.” So it appears that the silver was handed over voluntarily. We don’t know whether the container was handed over along with a truck or whether it was loaded onto a vehicle belonging to the perpetrators.

Within the container, the silver ingots were stored in barrels like this one. Photo: Toronto Police Service.

And that is indeed everything we know so far about the course of events. One can only speculate about the rest. It seems likely, for example, that inside information was necessary to know about the shipment and the place of storage of the precious container and to forge the documents in such a way that the transportation company would hand it over without raising suspicion. There seems to be no clear indication as to who the perpetrators are because no announcements were made about arrests or wanted persons.

By now, the police were able to recover part of the silver – but the exact amount was not made public. The ingots were found in Massachusetts, USA, and in Toronto, Canada. Therefore, at the end of 2021 the Toronto police have turned to the public about the matter.

The Police Ask for the Public’s Help

In their announcement, the Toronto police address silver buyers: “Investigators would like to speak to anyone who may have received these ingots or fears they may have received silver by-products from this stolen shipment.”

Let’s explain this sentence: the Toronto police have published pictures of a silver ingot that finally makes it possible to identify the stolen ingots. They feature a punch of the Korea Zinc Company along with a serial number and additional information. The specimen in the picture has a weight of 30.465 kilos – the police statement does not mention whether all ingots are of this weight. The Toronto police continue to believe that the ingots may have been melted down and cast into new ingots to erase these features. Therefore, buyers should pay special attention to silver without any information on it – this is probably how the second part of the sentence is to be understood.

Not the First Case of This Kind

The case recalls a similar crime that took place in 2015. Back then – also in Montreal – 16 tons of silver worth about 10 million dollars were stolen. Using a stolen semitrailer truck, the thieves looted a 6-meter shipping container filled with silver near the Port of Montreal. Following tips from the public, the police were able to arrest five men in connection with the crime. About a third of the silver was seized during house searches at the time. It isn’t known yet whether these similarities are a coincidence or whether there is a connection between the two crimes.


If you have any information about the crime, you can contact the Toronto police at 001416-808-7300. You can also give anonymous information via the organisation Crime Stoppers: by phone at 001416-222-8477 or on the Crime Stoppers website.