Canadians are in a conundrum as millions of dollars in maple syrup goes missingTalk about sticky-fingered thieves. They’ve struck in Quebec, snatching millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, a rural area between Montreal and Quebec City.
By: Brad Lendon, CNN
ST-LOUIS-DE-BLANDFORD, Quebec — Talk about sticky-fingered thieves. They’ve struck in Quebec, snatching millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, a rural area between Montreal and Quebec City.
Up to 10 million pounds of syrup was in the warehouse, according to a statement from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which bills itself as keeper of the global strategic maple syrup reserve.
Officials could not say exactly how much of the product was stolen, but a Quebec police official said it was a substantial quantity.
“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” Sgt. Richard Gagné said. “It’s a very large amount.”
The 10 million pounds of syrup that was in the warehouse is worth more than $30 million, according to the federation statement.
The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check of the warehouse, which “had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly,” federation president Serge Beaulieu said in the statement. Officials initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime.
The barrels that originally contained the syrup were empty, meaning it was somehow transferred to some other kind of containers to complete the theft, the federation said.
The warehouse where the theft occurred was being used to temporarily store the sweet stuff while a new facility was being prepared.
As much as 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec, the federation said.
Though the federation is insured for the loss, if the stolen syrup makes its way onto the market, it could hurt the group’s 10,000 members.
“The marketing of the stolen maple syrup will affect the entire maple industry. It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime,” the statement said.
Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, executive director of the federation, said that while it isn’t unusual for individual maple syrup producers to have stock stolen, having millions worth of syrup stolen is “unusual.”
“It’s the first time something like this has happened,” she said. “We’ve never seen a robbery of this magnitude.”
She said the disappearance of the stock wasn’t obvious at first in the huge warehouse. The facility alone houses nearly the equivalent of half the entire U.S. production of maple syrup in a year, she said.
“The U.S. market is the main market for maple syrup, about 75 percent of Canadian maple syrup is directly exported to the U.S.,” she said. She noted the theft was particularly ill-timed after a disappointing 2012 season for U.S. producers, triggering more demand for Canadian syrup.
She said auditors would require a few more days to determine how many of the 45-gallon barrels have been emptied.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.