Canada's massive maple syrup whodunit ends in arrests

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:29pm EST
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(Reuters) - The world's supply of maple syrup just got a little safer.

Police in Canada's French-speaking province of Quebec announced a breakthrough in the mysterious disappearance last August of truckloads of Canadian maple syrup.

Three suspects were arrested, vehicles were seized and syrup-making equipment recovered after a manhunt in Canada and the United States, the Quebec provincial police force said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Quebec police statement did not say what happened to the syrup or how much was stolen, but Canadian news sources said $18 million to $22 million worth was taken and two-thirds of it was recovered.

Five other suspects were still being "actively" sought in the investigation that also netted two elevator carts, four syrup kettles, platform lifts and six electronic scales.

The syrup heist was uncovered by a routine inventory check by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers earlier this year. The federation said the loss was significant but did not specify the size of the loss from the warehouse that held 10 million pounds of maple syrup, worth some $30 million.

Quebec produces about 75 percent of the world's maple syrup, a favorite on pancakes and waffles and also used in foods ranging from sweets and pastries to bacon and sausage.

(Reporting By Russ Blinch; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

A droplet of maple sap is seen at the Chemin du Roy maple grove in St-Augustin, Quebec, April 11, 2008. According to a local newspaper, close to 80 percent of the worldwide production of maple syrup comes from Quebec. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger