Bizarre Burglary at a Minting Facility

13 Apr 2020  Mon

At around 3 a.m., in Brussels on the night between 20 and 21 February 2020 three young men entered a building on Boulevard Pacheco, the Royal Mint of Belgium. As they broke in they set off the alarm. The police called by the security guard was able to arrest two of the thieves. However, a third one escaped with part of the loot. What did he steal? Gold? Rare Coins? Precious Stones? No. He robbed about 5 kilograms of scrap metal.

One might wonder what the thieves had hoped to gain from the break-in in the first place. Even though the Royal Mint of Belgium is of historical importance nothing has been struck here since 1 January 2018. At the Belgium Mint, new coins are only being designed, ordered and furthermore, circulation coins that are no longer in good condition are withdrawn and “canceled” here.

In most cases, this is done by the means of rollers that deform the coins and thus make them worthless. And the thieves stole coins that had been canceled in such a way. The value of these canceled coins is, one might guess, about zero. In any case, the coins cannot be used as legal tenders, but even if one could, its value is so small that it is not worth a prison sentence.

Anyway, the two arrested thieves have been sentenced to jail time. By the way on the same night, there was a break-in at the Treasury of Brussels and some computers were stolen from the reception area. According to press releases they did not contain any sensitive data. A coincidence?

Knowledge Base