Authorities have arrested three men who they believe are connected to the $18 million theft of maple syrup southwest of Quebec City, and are continuing the search for five more suspected of being involved.
After a good year in the spring of 2011, 16,000 drums of maple syrup were pasteurized and held as a surplus; each drum holds 54 gallons.
According to The New York Times, the men are suspected of renting another portion of the warehouse, allowing them to drive trucks into the building. When the coast was clear, the men would gradually empty syrup barrels, replacing some barrels with water.
Lieutenant Guy Lapointe of the investigating police force told The New York Times that over time, the thieves gathered 6 million pounds of syrup. "They were basically inside guys," Lapointe said. "The leader wasn’t with the federation, but he had access to the warehouse that would not attract any suspicion."
According to The Times, the police have tracked down some two-thirds of the stolen commodity, although they will have trouble proving that the syrup is stolen. "Maple syrup doesn’t have a bar code," Lapointe said.