Barrels of maple syrup at the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers warehouse in Laurierville, Quebec. Yves Charlebois- QMI photo
It was the heist that launched a thousand breakfast puns- in late August, thieves siphoned anywhere from C$20 to C$30 million worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in St Louis du Blandford, Quebec. The warehouse- owned by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers- is part of Canada's Maple Syrup Strategic Reserve [a phrase one usually associates with commodities like oil, gold or uranium- NANESB!]. They syrup at St Louis du Blandford warehouse and other facilities is stored in barrels, but instead of taking the barrels the thieves had siphoned off the liquid gold, leaving behind empty barrels so that the theft wasn't noticed until immediately.
In October, officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Sûreté du Québec executed search warrants at two seperate locations following the heist. RCMP officers reportedly found a significant quantity of syrup believed to be from the heist at a processing and export facility in Kedgwick, New Brunswick.
Quebec Provincial Police officers also raided a warehouse south of Quebec City about 10 days later. Less was known about the warehouse in St Nicholas, QC than the export firm in New Brunswick. The warehouse owner, who asked not to be identified, said he leased the building to syrup distributors who owed them money. A worker at a neighboring business said the current tennants had been there for about a year.
In the latest development, a lawyer for S.K. Export Inc- the New Brunswick firm that had approximately 660 barrels confiscated when police served a search warrant- has convinced a Quebec judge to return at least some of the 660 impounded barrels to the firm.
Étienne St.-Pierre, the owner of S.K. Export is also contemplating seeking compensation from the Quebec Provincial Police and the Quebec Federation of Maple Syrup Producers, contending that the Federation has been trying to put him out of business due to his long-standing practise of circumventing the Federation when he purchases surplus syrup from Quebec producers.
Police declined to comment on how they determined the syrup at S.K. Export was from the St Louis du Blandford heist due to the ongoing investigation.