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Luscious loot: Millions of dollars' worth of maple syrup stolen

Published time: September 01, 2012 03:10
Edited time: September 01, 2012 07:10
Steve Randle, a software engineer during the work-week, pours freshly made maple syrup in the finishing pan at Hollis Hills Farm in Lunenburg.(REUTERS / Brian Snyder)

Steve Randle, a software engineer during the work-week, pours freshly made maple syrup in the finishing pan at Hollis Hills Farm in Lunenburg.(REUTERS / Brian Snyder)

Over a quarter of Quebec’s maple syrup reserves have gone missing in what appears to be a multi-million-dollar heist. The question is, how did the thieves manage to run off with 10 million pounds of the sticky stuff?

­A routine checkup at a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blanford revealed that all of its barrels that stored CDN$30 million ($30.4 million) worth of maple syrup were empty. The Federation of Quebec Maple Producers (FQMP) believes the sweet liquid disappeared in what could be one of the largest maple syrup heists in history; one that may actually affect the already not-so-cheap prices of the sugar worldwide.

“The marketing of the stolen maple syrup will affect the entire maple industry. It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime,” the federation stated.

Provincial police have opened an investigation into the heist, but tracking the criminals could be tricky as there is no easy way to distinguish between stolen and legally-sold syrup.

It’s also unclear how the criminals managed to get away with such a heavy load. Some suspect they could have pumped it into barrels of their own. Nevertheless, the FQMP noted that its warehouse was not so easy to penetrate. 

The Federation always acts with caution to protect producers' harvests,” FQMP head Serge Beaulieu stated. “The St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse had been secured by a fence and locks, and is visited regularly.

Canada, and Quebec in particular, is unequivocally considered to be the world's leading maple syrup producer, with Quebec responsible for 70 to 80 per cent of global output alone. The US also produces a fair share of the sweet condiment, but a poor harvest put an additional strain on their northern neighbors.

A gallon of the condiment can already cost more than $52 in the US, and the missing reserves are likely to cause prices to creep up higher, meaning that the criminals could stand to earn a fortune. A sweet fortune, that is.

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