Over $2.5 Million in Gold Coins Taken From Casa de Moneda
By CoinWeek News Staff ….
UPDATE (8/11/2019): Three of the four suspects in last Tuesday’s gold heist of the Casa de Moneda from CCTV footage. Two men, Edgar Tenorio and Pablo Tenorio, are cousins. Another suspect is named Yahel López. A fourth suspect (who has yet to be identified) appears to be the girlfriend of one of the three men. All suspects are between the ages of 25 and 30.
Edgar, who was identified by his own father, lives in the same neighborhood as one of the guards employed at the Mint, leading authorities to investigate whether the guard was involved in the heist.
Below is CoinWeek’s previous coverage of the theft.
* * *
Yesterday in Mexico City, two men (one of them armed) robbed a branch of the Casa de Moneda of more than $2.5 million worth of commemorative gold coins and other valuables. According to the Secretary of Public Security for Mexico City Jesus Orta Martinez, the thieves overpowered a security guard and took his gun before one of the men headed straight for an open vault in the facility, where he stashed 1,567 gold coins into a backpack before leaving. Commemorative watches and other items of value were also seized.
CCTV footage of the daylight heist exists.
The stolen coins are Centenarios, a commemorative coin type originally issued in 1921 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Struck until 1931, production was resumed in 1943 due to popular demand and it has been issued every year since. One side of the coin features the iconic “Angel of Independence” monument located in downtown Mexico City with the Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes in the background. The other side features the famous eagle on cactus Coat of Arms of Mexico.
The Centenario consists of 37.5 grams of 90% pure gold and has a face value of 50 pesos. Like other investment-grade bullion products from around the world, the actual value of each coin depends on the spot price of the gold it contains, and therefore each Centenario is worth about 35,350 pesos or $1,800 USD.
This makes Tuesday’s theft worth approximately 50 million pesos, or $2.82 million.
Authorities are investigating the possibility that the thieves had inside help. The Mexican Mint, an independent agency of the federal government, manufactures all of the country’s circulating, commemorative, and investment-grade bullion coins.
Besides Tuesday’s robbery, the same branch was attacked during renovations in June 2018 when four armed men broke into the Mint and stole a mix of silver and gold coins valued around three million pesos or $152,592.
Additionally, some in Mexico are suggesting that the thieves may have been inspired by the Spanish-language Netflix series La Casa de Papel, which features a similar plotline. The streaming show is popular in Mexico and on Mexican social media.
Gold Heist in Brazil
The Mexican theft occurred 12 days after a brazen heist at a Brazilian airport.
On Thursday, July 25, an armed group of four men stole at least $30 million worth of gold and other precious metals from the Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. The gold was originally headed to Zurich and New York.
The thieves drove a vehicle disguised to look like a federal police truck and managed to bypass security this way. They took two airport officials hostage (including a logistics supervisor) and attacked a cargo terminal, where they made workers load the precious metals onto the truck. Security footage shows four men leaving the vehicle and conducting the heist, with at least one holding a visible rifle. Earlier reports had stated that the group consisted of eight attackers.
However, the BBC reports that the thieves kidnapped a senior airport official or one of their relatives and held them for over 12 hours before the robbery in order to glean information about this specific gold delivery. Four children related to this official are also said to have been kidnapped or held.
The truck used in the incident was eventually recovered, having been abandoned by the perpetrators in the Jardim Pantanal neighborhood about 12 miles away from the airport. Sao paolo police have upped surveillance at the airport and continue searching for the gold. As with the Mexican robbery above, federal investigators are looking into whether or not the attackers had inside help.
* * *
* * *