Diamonds, Cash, Art - that's usually the stuff that criminals are after. But maple syrup? Well, someone in Quebec wanted it. A lot of it. Police say it's too early to say exactly how much was stolen, but it could be as much as $30 million.
Apparently, the thieves got into a warehouse belonging to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. During a routine inventory, officials noticed a large number of barrels used to store the syrup were empty. It's believed the thieves emptied the syrup into other containers, so they could turn around and sell it on the black market.
The warehouse is about 160 kilometres northeast of Montreal. The federation says it was locked, had a fence around it and was checked regularly. It says the syrup was being held there while it finishes building a new storage facility nearby. It was supposed to be moved over in the coming weeks.
Incredibly, Quebec produces three-quarters of the world's maple syrup. Most of it is sold in the United States, so this is kind of a big deal. As you can imagine, experts say it could be difficult to track down the stolen syrup.
One piece of good news - the federation says it still has enough syrup. There won't be a shortage, so enjoy your pancakes.
Obviously, $30 million is a lot of money. But it's nowhere near the kind of money that's been stolen in some of the biggest robberies ever.
Here's three of the biggest ones we found.
- Boston's Gardner Museum, March 18th 1990 $300 million
Apparently, the biggest art robbery in history. Two guys, dressed as police officers, convinced two security guards to let them inside. When they did, the robbers handcuffed the guards and spent nearly an hour and a half picking 13 pieces of art, including three Rembrandt's and a Manet. All together, the paintings were worth $300 million. The robbers also took the surveillance tapes and are still at large.
- City Bonds Robbery, May 2nd 1990, London $440 million
A financial messenger named John Goddard was mugged while carrying a briefcase full of government bonds worth $440 million. Goddard was delivering Bank of England Treasury bills, which are considered as good as cash. He was held at knifepoint, while the robber got away with 301 Treasury bills, most valued at $1.5 million each. Keith Cheeseman was arrested and sentenced to six and a half years in prison. Police believe the mugging was carried out by Patrick Thomas, but he was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head before he could be charged. All but two of the bonds were recovered.
- Central Bank of Iraq, March 18 2003, Baghdad $1 billion
One day before the United States started bombing Iraq, nearly $1 billion was stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq. It's considered the largest bank robbery in history. Later, a hand-written note surfaced, signed by Saddam Hussein, ordering $920 million to be withdrawn and given to his son Qusay. Bank officials said Qusay and another unidentified man oversaw the cash, boxes of $100 bills, being loaded into trucks over a five hour period. Qusay was later killed by the U.S. military in a battle. And Saddam was captured by U.S. soldiers and executed by Iraqi officials. American troops later found $650 million hidden in the walls of one of Saddam's palaces. The other $350 million has never been recovered.
Related stories on Strombo.com: