Syrup linked to big Quebec heist recovered in New Brunswick
Maple syrup for sale at the Old Port market in Quebec City, Tuesday, April 18, 2000 . (Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 1:31PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 3, 2012 2:09PM EDT
Quebec police say they have seized a quantity of maple syrup in New Brunswick that they believe is connected to the multi-million dollar theft from Quebec’s maple syrup reserve more than a month ago.
Officers with the Surete du Quebec executed a search warrant at an address on Route 17 in Kedgwick, N.B. on Sept. 26. The search led to the seizure of maple syrup linked to the theft from a warehouse in St-Louis-de-Blandford, Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview.
Thibaudeau would not say how much syrup was seized or give the exact address that officers searched. However, the Globe and Mail reported that between 600 and 800 barrels of syrup was seized from S.K. Export, a maple syrup exporter located on Route 17 in Kedgwick. Calls and an email to the company went unanswered Wednesday morning.
Thibaudeau would not say what led investigators to the New Brunswick location, or if anyone at the company will be facing charges, citing the ongoing police investigation.
He would only say that the investigation is “nowhere near a conclusion yet.”
A statement issued by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers at the end of August said that “a routine inventory check” indicated thieves had made off with “a large quantity of maple syrup” from the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse.
The warehouse was serving as a temporary holding facility for part of the agency’s maple syrup inventory as a new warehouse in Laurierville was being renovated.
While the agency did not say exactly how much maple syrup was stolen, the warehouse held more than 10 million pounds of syrup, valued at more than $30 million.
The agency said it was working with both Quebec provincial police and an external auditing firm to get a handle on the scope of the theft.
According to the statement, empty barrels were found in the warehouse, which suggested that thieves emptied the syrup into other containers “in view of illegal distribution.”
Caroline Cyr, speaking on behalf of the federation, told CTVNews.ca Wednesday that the agency would be saying little publicly in light of the ongoing investigation.
She did confirm that the recovered product has been transferred to one of the federation’s Quebec warehouses, but remains under police protection.
“It’s not our property,” Cyr said in a telephone interview.
Serge Beaulieu, the federation’s president, said in the original statement that the organization “always acts with caution to protect producers’ harvests,” noting that the burglarized warehouse was secured by a fence and locks, and inspected regularly.
Beaulieu also said that nothing had been stolen from other storage facilities that are home to the maple syrup inventory.
The federation said storing syrup from a number of different producers in one facility manages the risks associated with storing a product “of such a large value.” The agency noted that all maple syrup inventories that it controls are insured.
The federation represents about 10,000 maple syrup producers in Quebec, manages bulk sales and is responsible for the administration of “the global strategic maple syrup reserve.”