‘Ottawa’ ‘You Can’t Sell this at the Corner Store’: Thieves Steal $150,000 of Maple Syrup in Overnight Heist
DORVAL, Que. — A Quebec shipping company is asking the public to help get it out of a sticky situation after about $150,000 worth of maple syrup was stolen in an overnight heist.
Mexuscan Cargo is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help recover the nearly 13,000 bottles taken from a yard on the Island of Montreal.
The company says thieves came into the company’s yard in Dorval, Que. the night of Sunday, Aug. 8, loaded a shipping container filled with about 20,000 kilograms of one-litre bottles of maple syrup onto a truck and broke through the fence.
The empty container was later found abandoned in Montreal.
Mexuscan vice-president Alfredo Monaco said the syrup came from Quebec’s maple-producing Eastern Townships, destined to be shipped to Japan the following day.
He says because the bottles are labeled with Costco’s Kirkland brand, the company is hoping for the public’s help in identifying the stolen syrup.
“You can’t sell this at the corner store. People will know what it is, so it’s probably harder to get rid of on the black market,” Monaco said.
He says that although the syrup was insured, the company will still be out a $50,000 deductible, which is not an easy hit to take in a low-margin industry like shipping.
Monaco says that when the company ships high-value goods like alcohol, drivers usually bring it directly to its destination instead of leaving it unsupervised in a yard overnight.
“We do take precautions, but the minute you let your guard down for one second, that’s it,” he said.
From now on, Monaco says maple syrup shipments will probably be kept at the company’s home terminal Sainte-Martine, Que., which is monitored by guards and security cameras.
Monaco says Mexuscan has not had an incident at the Dorval yard in the past 10 years until they were robbed of Sher-Wood hockey gloves about two months ago, in what could be the most stereotypically Canadian pair of thefts in the company’s history.
“This is when parents are getting their kids ready for hockey season so we’re trying to discourage the black market,” he said.
This is not the first time thieves in Quebec have targeted the pricey sap of the sugar maple. Between August 2011 and July 2012, $18 million worth of maple syrup was stolen from warehouses before police dismantled the criminal network responsible and arrested 26 people.