The great Toronto airport heist of 1952 is solved. Howard Halpenny got the gold.

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The Great Toronto Airport Heist of 1952 stands as a testament to the audacity of criminals and the intrigue it stirred in the hearts of the public. This meticulously planned and executed robbery at Malton Airport, now known as Toronto Pearson International Airport, left Canada in shock and awe as a gang of skilled thieves managed to make off with an astonishing haul of cash and gold. This article delves into the captivating story of this historic heist and the enduring mystery it left behind.

The great Toronto airport heist of 1952 was a $20-million gold theft that occurred at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The heist was declared Canada’s biggest gold theft at the time and was so bewildering that investigators had no suspects and weren’t even sure how the gold was stolen. The crime was never solved and remained a mystery for 70 years until National Post reporter Adrian Humphreys unraveled the case. The stolen gold was never recovered, and the perpetrators were never caught

  • The Scene: The year was 1952, and post-World War II Canada was experiencing a period of growth and prosperity. Malton Airport, situated in the suburbs of Toronto, was a key hub for both domestic and international flights. On a chilly September night, the airport’s security was about to face its greatest challenge.
  • The Players: The mastermind behind this audacious scheme was Edwin Alonzo Boyd, a notorious Canadian criminal who had already achieved notoriety for his bank robberies and prison escapes. Boyd’s gang consisted of seasoned criminals, each handpicked for their specific skills. Their meticulous planning, military precision, and knowledge of the airport’s security systems were crucial to the success of this heist.
  • The Heist: Under the cover of darkness, the gang infiltrated the airport grounds and managed to disable the airport’s alarm systems. They gained access to the secure vaults housing an impressive cache of cash and gold bars, estimated to be worth over $1.5 million at the time (equivalent to approximately $15 million today). The audacity of their plan left even the most seasoned law enforcement officers baffled.
  • The Escape: Having secured their loot, Boyd and his gang executed a daring escape by hijacking a passenger plane. This audacious move added a layer of complexity to the heist, as they took hostages and demanded safe passage to a remote location. After an extensive manhunt and a high-stakes standoff, the gang managed to slip away, leaving investigators and the nation stunned.
  • The Aftermath: The Great Toronto Airport Heist of 1952 became front-page news across the nation. The audacity of the criminals and their successful escape fascinated the public and drew international attention. Edwin Alonzo Boyd became a household name, and his legend as a mastermind criminal grew.

The Legacy:

“There is no doubt, there is much family lore around it. I can confirm it,” says Heather Halpenny. “My dad got the gold.”

Heather Halpenny, 73, is the eldest daughter of Howard Halpenny.

The heist remains an enduring mystery, as neither the stolen loot nor the culprits were ever fully apprehended.

It has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and even a feature film, keeping the legend of Edwin Alonzo Boyd and his audacious gang alive for decades. In 2023, National Post journalist Adrian Humphreys unveiled the captivating tale of a historic heist, providing an intricate account of the audacious robbery and its perpetrators. His exhaustive investigation disclosed that the stolen gold had likely been melted down and sold, rendering it nearly untraceable. This heist’s narrative and eventual resolution gripped the public’s imagination, shedding fresh light on a long-standing mystery. Adrian Humphreys further engaged with the audience through a Q&A session, offering valuable insights into his investigative techniques, including how he connected Howard to the 1952 crime.

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