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Sun Oct 18, 2015, 08:04 PM

Sticky situation: maple syrup bandits face Quebec courts for infamous heist

Source: The Guardian

Sticky situation: maple syrup bandits face Quebec courts for infamous heist

Jared Lindzon in Toronto
Sunday 18 October 2015 13.00 BST

It was the perfect time to pull off what was almost the perfect heist. Thieves had hoped to take advantage of warehouse move to steal $18m worth of maple syrup. But the plot came undone thanks to a single empty barrel and now 25 Quebec residents are facing jail.

The heist sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie – and indeed it soon will be. Sony has bought the rights to the bizarre tale and Jason Segel is slated to star. But the case now heading through courts has also shone a bright light on the strange business of maple syrup.

In the Canadian province of Quebec, where nearly 75% of the world’s supply of the pancake topper is produced, the supply of syrup is tightly controlled by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. One of the federation’s primary purposes is to store large quantities of maple syrup in order to satisfy demand in years of weak production.

At the time of the heist, which occurred between 2011 and 2012, the federation was in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art warehouse to store approximately 50,000 tonnes of maple syrup, representing 50% of the typical year’s harvest from the province’s 44m taps. During the transition period, 10% of their supply was kept in a rented warehouse south-west of Quebec City, with a full-time guard living in an apartment above.

That guard now stands among the accused for having a hand in a year-long heist that replaced the barrels of maple syrup, valued at approximately 13 times the price of crude oil at the time, with water.

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Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/18/maple-syrup-heist-quebec-canada-courts-film

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