POLICE IN QUEBEC are on the hunt for thieves who stole $30 million worth of maple syrup last week.
The unusual crime – which, predictably, has attracted attention from around the world – saw at least 4,500 tonnes of the sticky stuff taken from a warehouse.
The theft was so expertly carried out that three days later, police appear to be still none the wiser about how the sticky treasure was plundered – or, indeed, exactly when it was taken.
As the National Post explains, manufacturers only discovered the theft during a routine check of a warehouse inventory.
“We know exactly the number of barrels, and there is a code on each barrel, and we know the weight of each barrel in each of our warehouses. And then we realised that some of them were empty,” the manager of the facility said.
Adding further mystique to the whole affair is the fact that the theft took place at a warehouse owned by the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers’ Reserve – essentially an emergency stockpile of the slicky stuff.
Wired.com explains that maple syrup – aside from having an obvious titular connection to Canada and its national tree – has a particularly important place in the Canadian economy.
The stockpile of syrup – or should that be a stockpool? – actually exists to ensure that any major shock to the supply, such as the latest theft, doesn’t provide a knock-on effect for the food industry and its workers.
Maple syrup is a fairly central part to the Canadian food industry (The Atlantic tells us that Quebec is responsible for three-quarters of the global syrup supply) meaning that any shortage would jeopardise related jobs in the bakery and hospitality industries.
That’s before you consider the impact on the haulage and transport industries, who would have less stock to carry if there were fewer bottles of syrup to distribute to supermarkets nationwide and overseas.
The extra reserves also ensure that stocks are buffered from any unseasonable weather, which would otherwise result in a shortage of syrup that could drive up the price worldwide.
Thankfully, the manager said, the warehouse which was struck by the mysterious heist was among the smallest in the supply network – meaning the world’s pancakes needn’t go dry for now.