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Canada’s Great Maple Syrup Heist

November 21, 2013 9:50 am Published by

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers found itself in a sticky situation last year when accountant, Michael Gauvreau, arrived at the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve to audit its inventory.

What unravelled next was evidence of a record breaking heist, gone completely unnoticed, when barrels usually filled with the sweet, golden tree sap were either completely emptied or replaced with water!

It took the Federation two months to total the final loss which concluded that 6 million pounds of syrup had disappeared, totalling a staggering price of $18 million wholesale! Incredibly, grade A Maple Syrup is trading at around $1,800 per barrel – that’s 13 times the price of crude oil.

  

The syrup is big business for Canada and the country contributes to approx. 75% of the world’s syrup supply. Over 2012 it was estimated that the wholesale value of the product amounted to about 270 Million Dollars with two thirds of the stock shipped to the United States and the rest to the United KingdomJapan and other European countries.

Varying weather conditions affect the amount of syrup produced, so Canada has a strategic reserve in place to keep supplies running no matter what the conditions are. In the Spring of 2011, so much extra syrup was produced that the Federation had to rent another warehouse to accommodate the extra produce.

Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Sûreté du Québec, the police force that led the investigation, said that the thieves rented another portion of the warehouse for an unrelated business. That enabled them to drive large trucks into the building.

“They were basically inside guys,” Lieutenant Lapointe said. “The leader wasn’t with the federation, but he had access to the warehouse that would not attract any suspicion.”

When no one else was around, Lieutenant Lapointe said the thieves gradually began emptying syrup barrels. As inventory checks are only performed twice a year it left a large window open for the produce to vanish and not be picked up until the next check. 

The thieves successfully sold most of the stolen syrup which now rests in the cupboards and stomachs of American citizens with only a few barrels seized.

 

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This post was written by Kayleigh Driscoll

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