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Maple Syrup Heist Leaves Quebec in a Sticky Mess

Canada’s francophone province is the Saudi Arabia of the syrup world, producing some three-quarters of the world’s output. With the global market under stress—U.S. production is down 32 percent this year to 1.91 million gallons, according to the Department of Agriculture (PDF)—perhaps it was only a matter of time before thieves targeted Quebec’s rich reserves. The puzzle is how the culprits managed to siphon off almost C$30 million ($30.4 million) of syrup. That’s the equivalent of 10 million pounds or roughly 15,000 barrels of syrup. And the stock didn’t vanish somewhere in the supply chain of a major city. It’s missing from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, a tiny town of 903 people, according to the 2011 Census. They’re usually more focused on cranberries, whether it’s harvesting them or celebrating them in cranberry festivals. So imagine the surprise when a "routine inventory check," as the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) calls it, revealed evidence of a massive heist. Row after row of barrels were empty, filled with nothing but sweet-smelling Quebec air. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-31/maple-syrup-heist-leaves-quebec-in-a-sticky-mess
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