It sounds like a plot line of a Scooby Doo episode, but this crime is very real and still unsolved: Quebec authorities are investigating an insider job that resulted in the theft of six million pounds of maple syrup.
The New York Times reports that police have arrested three men and are investigating another five suspected for their connection to the crime; so far, there have been 300 people questioned and 40 search warrants issued.
The province of Quebec can produce more than three-quarters of the world’s supply of maple syrup per year, depending on conditions. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers keeps a reserve to “maintain stable and high prices”; it relies on this supply when it encounters less fruitful seasons. Acting general manager Simon Trépanier says it’s sort of like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for maple syrup, insofar as the organization has “the ability to adjust the quantity that is in the marketplace.”
By the time the theft was discovered, the culprits had already carried off $18 million worth of maple syrup. With the case still open, authorities aren’t revealing too many details about the resale path that traces to parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. One major obstacle in the case—for authorities and potential buyers—is how to identify whether the product is contraband in the first place.
[via The New York Times]