Talk about sticky-fingered thieves. They've struck in Quebec, snatching millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, between Montreal and Quebec City.
Up to 10 million pounds of syrup was in the warehouse, according to a statement from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which bills itself as keeper of the global strategic maple syrup reserve.
Officials could not say exactly how much of the product was stolen, but a Quebec police official told The Globe and Mail it was a substantial quantity.
“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” Sgt. Richard Gagné is quoted as saying. “It’s a very large amount.”
The 10 million pounds of syrup that was in the warehouse is worth more than $30 million, according to the federation statement.
The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check of the warehouse, which "had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly," federation president Serge Beaulieu said in the statement.
The barrels that originally contained the syrup were empty, meaning it was somehow transferred to some other kind of containers to complete the theft, the federation said.
The warehouse where the theft occurred was being used to temporarily store the sweet stuff while a new facility was being prepared.
As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec, the federation said.
Though the federation is insured for the loss, if the stolen syrup makes its way onto the market, it could hurt the group's 10,000 members.
"The marketing of the stolen maple syrup will affect the entire maple industry. It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime," the statement said.
“Obviously those people stole the maple syrup to sell it somewhere,” federation director Anne-Marie Granger Godbout told The Globe and Mail. “If it’s a big volume, it could be very harmful for the maple syrup industry. The companies that are working in this industry will have to compete with some company that didn’t pay for the maple syrup.”
The federation said the theft shouldn't affect supplies available to the public.
"The sales agency's maple syrup inventory is spread across several storage locations which were not subject to theft," Beaulieu said in the statement.
The amount in the warehouse represents about one-10th of Quebec's 2012 harvest and more than 25% of the federation's stock, CNN affiliate CBC reported.