By Jesse Robitaille
A dealer and exchange broker has lost an estimated $500,000 worth of inventory after being trailed from a Montréal coin show while on route to his Toronto-area home this November.
The Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) issued a theft warning on Nov. 5, just hours after Pieter Liem, the owner of Mississauga, Ont.’s Coin & Currency Exchange, lost several suitcases filled with cash, collectibles, precious metals and other high-value goods. Liem had stopped with his wife and daughter at a rest area just outside of Kingston, Ont., while on his way home from Nuphilex. While he and his family were in the building, one or more suspects broke into their locked car and stole the suitcases, which contained upwards of $500,000 worth of inventory, according to the Nov. 5 CAND notice.
“We were definitely followed from the Nuphilex show,” Liem told CCN on Nov. 6.
Earlier during the drive home, at about 4:30 p.m., he and his family stopped at Matjip, a Korean restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Qué., to order some take-out food for dinner.
“My daughter stayed in the car,” said Liem, “and while we were in the restaurant, a man who appeared to be Hispanic tried to open her door and then acted as if it was a mistake, so we thought nothing of it at the time.”
Three hours later, the family stopped for gas and a bathroom break at the ONroute in Odessa, Ont., about 20 kilometres northeast of Kingston.
“When we went to the washroom, we left the car unattended for about three minutes,” Liem said. “When we got back, the back window had been smashed, and four small Samsonite suitcases, as well as a grey MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) backpack, were stolen.”
A tracker Liem hid in one of the bags led him back to an apartment building in Montréal, “but unfortunately, by the time we got back to Montréal, the tracker was no longer emitting a signal,” he added.
Liem notified municipal and provincial police services following the theft and remains hopeful the ongoing investigations “could yield some results.”
10-PLUS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Billed as “the most reliable and established currency exchange service in Mississauga,” Pieter Liem’s Coin & Currency Exchange has provided exchange services – free of commission and other fees – for all worldwide currencies since 2013. With more than 10 years of experience, Liem has offered competitive exchange rates for more than 100 currencies available at his storefront in Mississauga, Ont., for what he called a “hassle-free experience.” Liem also serves as a member of the Canadian Money Services Business Association and was the Ontario Libertarian Party’s MPP candidate for Mississauga-Erin Mills in 2018, when he garnered more than one per cent of the vote.
STOLEN MATERIAL EXCEEDS $500K
“Be on the lookout for large quantities of Canadian and U.S. bundles, world notes and euro cash along with high-end collectible notes,” reads the CAND warning.
During the theft, Liem lost the following inventory in cash:
- Canadian banknotes totalling $30,000;
- U.S. banknotes worth about $85,000 ($115,000 Cdn.), including several mint packs of $5, $10 and $20 bills plus regular $50 and $100 notes;
- euro notes worth 6,000 euros (about $8,825 Cdn.);
- U.K. notes worth £5,000 (about $8,450 Cdn.); and
- Argentine banknotes totalling 1.2 million pesos (about $4,700 Cdn.).
Liem also lost the following precious metal material:
- about 10 ounces of gold in Royal Canadian Mint coins, including a bi-metallic gold and silver set with coins weighing between 1/25th of an ounce and one ounce, a 22-karat commemorative gold toonie and an 18-karat gold Year of the Dragon hologram coin;
- a Royal Canadian Mint four-piece platinum set with coins weighing between 1/10th of an ounce and one ounce;
- an Emirates one-ounce gold bar and 10-gram gold bar;
- nearly 500 ounces of Silver Bullet bullion, including about 400 one-ounce bullets, 19 two-ounce bullets, four five-ounce bullets and two 10-ounce bullets;
- about 500 one-ounce silver bullion coins, including the Royal Canadian Mint’s Silver Maple Leaf coins (both the regular issues and animal series), U.S. American Eagle coins, Chinese Panda coins, Australian Kangaroo and Kookaburra coins, Mexican Libertad coins plus various other silver rounds;
- about 40 two-ounce silver bullion coins, including the Royal Canadian Mint’s werewolf issues, the Royal Mint’s Queen’s Beasts issues and Niue’s turtle issues;
- about 30 Canadian and Australian half-ounce gold and silver coins;
- “some” Canadian 3/4-ounce silver coins; and
- various pieces of jewellery.
As for coin and banknote collectibles, Liem lost the following material:
- upwards of 500 certified banknotes, including a 1954 $1,000 Devil’s Face variety in Uncirculated-53;
- various Canadian chartered banknotes;
- a 1969 $20 specimen note with serial No. 1;
- many worldwide slabbed notes, including issues from the Bahamas, England, France, Indonesia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Timor, Zimbabwe and more;
- about 60 sets of 1961-67 Canadian coins (with one cent through $1 issues) in hard plastic holders;
- “a couple of” slabbed 1912-14 Canadian $10 gold coins;
- a slabbed 1925 Canadian five-cent coin in Mint State-63;
- a slabbed 1926 Canadian five-cent “Far 6” variety;
- several key-date U.S. Peace and Morgan silver dollars;
- “a couple of” slabbed French écu coins from the 17th and 18th centuries;
- several Dutch three-guilder coins and ducatons; and
- “many other coins,” Liem said.
Lastly, the suspect or suspects stole three MacBook laptops plus a Moneris debit card machine from Liem’s car.
Liem, who filed police reports immediately following the theft, now awaits the results of ongoing investigations by both the Ontario Provincial Police and the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (Montréal Police Department).