In a ground-breaking case that’s been open since July, Canadian authorities have begun arrests in the biggest maple syrup heist in the history of country.
Quebec police were called in to investigate a theft in early July, but at the time, no one had any idea how far the theft had extended to. Six million pounds of syrup was confirmed to have been stolen from a strategic global reserve in Quebec, which housed three warehouses full of barrels totaling more than 50 million pounds of syrup.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the theft and police are searching for five others. Other law enforcement is trying to recover the stolen syrup, which buyers believed was a legitimate sale when purchased. So far, two-thirds have been recovered.
Maple syrup is considered big business in Canada. And the reserve in Quebec produces more than three-quarters of the world’s supply.
Simon Trépanier, acting general manager of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers compares Canada’s syrup reserve to America’s oil reserve.
“In the States you have the strategic oil reserve,” but “Mother Nature is not generous every year, so we have our own global strategic reserve.”
Trépanier estimates after the theft, the reserve now holds 46 million pounds of syrup.
The supply from the spring of 2011 was so significant, a third warehouse was rented to store the syrup barrels. Police believe the thieves (specifically the leader) had access to the warehouse because he had rented part of it for separate business purpose.
This enabled him and the others involved to drive large trucks inside the warehouse and cart the syrup away by the barrel. Some barrels were filled with water to cover up any suspicion by outsiders.
The heist is considered a record-breaker in Canadian history. In 2006, an ownership dispute led to $1.6 million pounds of syrup being stolen.