Earlier this month, a trial began in Berlin of four men who were accused of stealing the ‘Big Maple Leaf’, a valuable gold coin, in an old-school style heist. The story reads like the script of a Hollywood movie.
The stolen coin was a gold Canadian Maple Leaf produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007, at their Ottawa facility, and featured the well-known maple-leaf design, but this was no ordinary coin…
This special coin, known as the ‘Big Maple Leaf’ weighed a humungous 100 kilograms (3,215 troy ounces) and was struck in 999.99 Fine Gold. At the time it was stolen in March 2017, the coin had a market value of approximately 3.3 million pounds.
The coin measured a huge 53 centimetres (21 inches) in diameter and was 3 centimetres (1.2 inches) thick. The coin is thought to be the second-largest gold coin in the world. With such a large size, and weighing a hefty 100kg, the thieves must have had some special technical plan in place to move this massive and valuable coin, right? Wrong.
In the early hours of 27th March 2017, the ‘Big Maple Leaf’ was stolen from the coin cabinet of the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany. Three men are said to have climbed onto adjacent railway tracks, then used a ladder as a bridge to break in through an unalarmed window on the third floor of the museum. They then smashed through the bullet-proof glass case holding the coin. To move this large coin, the men are believed to have placed the coin on a skateboard to wheel it through the museum, then used a rope and wheelbarrow to haul it across the railway tracks to their getaway car.
Although the thieves managed to escape at the time, they were later arrested in July that same year.
The three suspects on trial are all in their early twenties and are all reported to be part of a Lebanese Berlin family said to have links to organised crime. A fourth man who worked as a security guard at the Bode Museum is also accused of helping the robbers by advising on security and locations. The trial began earlier this month with the verdict expected at the end of March, and if found guilty, the men could face 10 years in prison.
What Happened to the Coin?
Berlin police have assumed that the coin may have been damaged during the theft, as the coin would have been dropped from the train tracks down onto the street. Sadly, it is not expected that the coin will ever be found, as investigators found gold dust on the suspects clothing and so it is suspected that the coin may have been cut into pieces and sold or melted down.
However, nobody but the robbers are 100% sure what happened to the coin. The whereabouts are still unknown.
Could the ‘Big Maple Leaf’ gold coin still be out there somewhere?
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