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Second man arrested in gold, silver coin heist
A second “refugee claimant” has been arrested in connection with a Pearson Airport theft ring whose members allegedly stole $130,000 in rare gold and silver coins from a New Brunswick currency dealer. Police said the theft “took a toll” on the unidentified victim, who is described as a small Fredericton businessman who was shopping for deals in Toronto.
Christian Aponte, 38, was arrested on Sunday for his alleged role in the last November theft in which the unsuspecting dealer was targeted by suspects and followed from an Airport Strip coin show. Aponte appeared at Brampton court on Wednesday for a bail hearing and will remain detained on an immigration hold.
Peel Regional Police allege the three-man theft team from Colombia travel to high-end coin, jewellery and shows featuring valuable items in search of victims.
“the case is still very much active,” said Det.-Sgt. Malcolm Bow, of the force’s airport division. “We are still looking for a third suspect.”
Police allege a small bag containing the rare items was swiped as the suspect was distracted by the thieves at Pearson as he checked in for a flight home.
Officers allege the bag was passed to another man, who went outside the terminal and handed it to a man in a car who took off.
Aponte, and Cesar Aperador, 42, of Ajax, have been charged with conspiracy to commit theft over $10,000, theft over $10,000 and possession of stolen property.
A Canada-wide warrant is outstanding for Oscar Medina-Pinilla, 47, who is believed to be in the Vancouver area, police said.
Officials said the men arrived in Canada from Bogota as refugee claimants and are detained on immigration holds. as claimants they are entitled to welfare and other social benefits.