The Sticky Sweet Canadian Heist

In 2011 and 2012, almost 19 million Canadian dollars worth of which product was stolen in Quebec?

And the answer: maple syrup.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers maintains a strategic reserve of maple syrup in several rural towns. Over the course of several months in 2011 and 2012, the contents of over 9,500 barrels were stolen from one of the facilities. Seventeen men were arrested in the sticky heist.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, or FPAQ, is essentially the authority on maple syrup. Their syrup accounts for about 77% of global supply, and have been referred to as a maple syrup cartel. The Federation was formed in 1966 when a group of maple syrup producers in Quebec participated in a joint plan to collectively market maple syrup. The movement spread across Quebec to become the powerful coalition it is today.

They say time is money– clearly they have never dealt in maple syrup. Over the course of the 2011-2012 heist, an estimated $18.7 million was lost in stolen syrup. In fact, the sticky substance is so precious that a single barrel goes for over $1300. That's 26x more expensive than crude oil!

About 12.5% of the entire reserve was missing at the end of the great maple syrup heist. Naturally, the following investigation was the largest in Quebec history. Over 250 investigators questioned over 300 witnesses and searched over 40 houses, all over the course of a few months. When the dust settled (or, rather, when the syrup hardened), the ringleaders of the sticky heist were put behind bars, many of which are still serving time today.

To learn more about the heist and the syrup masterminds that supply our planet, check out this Vanity Fair article.

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