Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Canada

An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint is accused of stealing nearly $140,000 worth of gold by sticking it in his rectum and walking out. According to the
Ottawa Citizen, 35-year-old Leston Lawrence of Barrhaven has been charged with theft, laundering the proceeds of crime, possession of stolen property and breach of trust. Prosecutors for the Crown allege that, on multiple occasions, Lawrence took small circular chunks of gold—known as pucks—to Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Centre. The pucks weighed about 210 grams apiece, or just under half a pound. Lawrence was paid via check about $6,800, in Canadian dollars, for each one. He then deposited the checks at the Royal Bank in the same mall. One day a teller became suspicious at the size and number of Ottawa Gold Buyers checks being deposited, and of the client’s request that the money be wired out of the country. When the teller noticed on Lawrence’s account profile that he worked at the Mint, the RCMP was called to investigate. Lawrence’s defense layer Gary Barnes described the Crown’s case as “appalling,” saying it was based on an underwhelming collection of circumstantial evidence. “This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honor, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” Barnes said in his closing submission earlier this month. “And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets?” According to records, 18 gold pucks and dozens of gold coins were exchanged by Lawrence between Nov. 27, 2014, and March 12, 2015, totaling $CAD179,015 ($137,213). Lawrence reportedly set off the mint’s metal detector more than other employees, but regularly passed a second manual search with a hand-held wand. Investigators found a container of Vaseline in Lawrence’s employee locker and simply put two and two together. “We do have compelling evidence,” Crown attorney David Fiesen told the court, of someone “secreting [gold] on his person and taking it out of the Mint.” A security employee even went so far as to “test” the Vaseline, gold puck and anal cavity theory—proving that gold thus hidden could not be detected by the facility’s hand-held wands. Prosecutors also showed that the pucks Lawrence sold to the gold exchange precisely fit the Mint’s custom “dipping spoon” made in-house and not available commercially. Nonetheless, Lawrence’s attorney maintained his client’s innocence, saying the gold he sold regularly could have been acquired from anywhere. Lawrence was fired from his job at the Mint earlier this year. Justice Peter Doody has until Nov. 9 to render his decision on the case.

Dateline: England

Police in Northumbria released a series of strange calls to their non-emergency 101 phone line including one from a man who complained to authorities that his ex-girlfriend was overfeeding their hamster. The man contacted Northumbria police to let them know his ex-girlfriend would not return the hamster in the wake of their breakup. “I don’t want to cause any trouble whatsoever,” the man is heard saying on the recording. “She’ll not give it back because she says ‘I look after it better than you.’ But it’s ended up looking like a fat little pig.” The unnamed caller went on to call the hamster—also unnamed—his “pride and joy” and said, “I need him back now. He has only got a couple of years left in him because they only live so long, and I love him.” After the calls were released, Northumbria Police Chief Supt. Patsalos told the
Sunderland Echo, “What we are trying to do is educate people about when it is appropriate to call the police and when it is appropriate to contact another organization.” He did not clarify which organization should be contacted when you’re ex-girlfriend is making your hamster fat.

Dateline: California

Security camera footage from a YMCA in Indio shows a burglar breaking into through the ceiling of the building and stealing money from a cash register—unfortunately for the inattentive thief, it was play money from a toy cash register. The footage, captured on Sept. 10 at the YMCA Doris Mechanick Child Development Center and broadcast on KESQ-3, shows an as-yet-unidentified man dropping into the children’s playroom from the overhead ductwork system. The thief immediately targets what he clearly things is a real cash register. The blue and red plastic toy, however, was filled with fake cash and bogus coins. Authorities did not say how much fake money is missing. The YMCA said it is working to repair the ceiling and air conditioner damaged in the burglary.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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