It was an inside job of sorts. Thieves with access to a warehouse and a careful plan loaded up trucks and, over time, made off with $18 million of a valuable commodity.
The question is what was more unusual: that the commodity in question was maple syrup, or that it came from something called the global strategic maple syrup reserve, run by what amounts to a Canadian cartel.
On Tuesday, the police in Quebec arrested three men in connection with the theft from the warehouse, which is southwest of Quebec City. The authorities are searching for five others suspected of being involved, and law enforcement agencies in other parts of Canada and the United States are trying to recover some of the stolen syrup.
Both the size and the international scope of the theft underscore Quebec’s outsize position in the maple syrup industry.
Depending on the year, the province can produce more than three-quarters of the world’s supply. And its marketing organization appears to have taken some tips from the producers of another valuable liquid commodity when it comes to exploiting market dominance.
“It’s like OPEC,” said Simon Trépanier, acting general manager of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “We’re not producing all the maple syrup in the world. But by producing 70 to 78 percent, we have the ability to adjust the quantity that is in the marketplace.”...
Mr. Trépanier estimates that the reserve now holds 46 million pounds of syrup.You can read the whole article if you want the gory details of how the thieves managed to make this work, but suffice it to say that Fort Knox this is not. These guys made off with an amazing six million pounds of syrup, and good lord that just sounds like a lot of pancakes. And, as the article points out, stealing it is the easy part... it's selling it without anybody asking questions that's the hard part. And somehow, these guys pulled it off.
Of course, we can make light of this situation if we want (and yes, that's exactly what we're going to do, because Canada's crimes are just so cute and quaint, unlike our crimes in America), but stealing tens of millions of dollars worth of just about any product is a serious crime, which is why both the Mounties (tee-hee) and the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement team were in on this investigation.
At any rate, be aware, the syrup you're pouring on your Christmas morning pancakes (or waffles, if you roll that way) could be hot in more ways than one. Go Canada.