Robbers steal $50 million worth of gold coins in Mexico

The same Casa de Moneda branch was also broken into last year while the building was being renovated

Robbers steal MXN $50 million worth of gold coins in Mexico
The centenarios are valued around MXN $31,500 each - Photo: José Luis González/REUTERS
English 07/08/2019 11:48 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Reuters Actualizada 11:57
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On Tuesday, armed robbers broke into a Mexican government coin manufacturer and filled a backpack with more than MXN $50 million worth of gold coins from a vault that had been left open, security officials said. The theft lasted less than 10 minutes.

Two people, one wielding a firearm, broke into a “Casa de Moneda” branch in the morning after throwing a security guard to the ground and taking his gun, Mexico City police said.

One of the robbers then went to the vault, which was open, and filled a backpack with 1,567 gold coins and several watches, police said.

Authorities haven't ruled out the possibility that the theft could have been planned inside the building, owned by the Finance Ministry because the robbers knew there was only one security guard and knew location since they immediately headed to the vault.

The case is now being investigated by the Attorney General's Office and it has placed 8 employees in custody: two of them went out to lunch at an hour when it's forbidden and while the robbery was taking place; two people who were in charge of the vault, which was left open, and other four employees who didn't call the police until the thieves had left the location.

The coins, known as “centenarios,” have a face value of MXN $50 pesos, but trade for MXN $31,500 apiece, according to Mexican bank Banorte. That makes the total value of the haul at least MXN $50 million.

The coin was first minted in 1921 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain, according to the central bank. Production was suspended in 1931, but the coin was re-minted beginning in 1943 due to demand for gold coins.

One side of the coin bears Mexico’s coat of arms, with an eagle perched atop a cactus, and the other features the capital’s iconic Angel of Independence monument backed by the majestic Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes. The coins, 37 mm in diameter, have a gold fineness of 0.900, or 90% purity.

According to media reports, the same Casa de Moneda branch was also broken into last year while the building was being renovated.


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