First maple syrup, now fir resin subject of lucrative heist

Fir-resin producer Gérald Charbonneau opened his garage one day to find about 1,000 pounds of his product had been stolen.

Producer near Quebec City was robbed of 1,000 pounds of resin

Gérald Charbonneau said his labours for the year have been stolen. (Radio-Canada)

It turns out maple isn't the only sap worth stealing.

Fir-resin producer Gérald Charbonneau learned that the hard way when he opened his garage recently to find about 1,000 pounds of his product had been stolen.

Charbonneau runs Gomme de sapin du Québec in Stoneham, about 30 kilometres north of Quebec City.

He noticed the theft of the year's harvest — worth about $35,000 — when he returned home from the Thanksgiving holiday.

"I opened the door and then closed it again to make sure I saw it right," Charbonneau said.

"I didn't believe it."

Money from the sale of the $35,000 worth of fir resin was meant to fund a new tree museum. (Pam Lockeby/The Associated Press)

Harvested by hand

Charbonneau said the resin is harvested with specially made artisanal tools. 

The resin is collected drop-by-drop from balsam fir trees.

"Pure gold of Quebec," Charbonneau called it.

The money from the sale of his product was supposed to finance the opening of a forest museum in the Eastern Townships in the next few weeks.

Fir resin can be used in glue sealant, cold medicine, wood varnish and in traditional medicines as an antiseptic.  

Quebec's provincial police have opened an investigation into the theft.

with files from Radio-Canada