It was the quintessential Canadian heist.
In the town of Nanton, Alberta, officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found $20,000 worth of stolen maple syrup after the alleged thief led them on a high-speed chase. As Chat News Today reported, the incident took place on Wednesday, when mounties said they located a truck being loaded with stolen goods.
As officers approached the truck, they said the driver took off running and jumped into a silver car, fleeing the area. They were eventually able to catch up with the getaway car near the town of Black Diamond, and officers who were investigating the stolen goods found $100,000 worth of property — including $20,000 worth of maple syrup. It was not clear what else made up the stolen goods.
The mounties arrested three people — 20-year-old Shelby Kalman, 28-year-old Shawn Mclaughlin, and 23-year-old Char-lee Fernel. They all face charges of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and a slew of other charges, including possession of controlled substances.
While the recovered property represented many pancakes worth of maple syrup, it is nowhere near the biggest maple syrup heist ever pulled off in Canada. That belongs to the appropriately named Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist, which Vanity Fair noted was a daring operation targeting the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
The FPAQ has a monopoly on the very expensive commodity, the report noted, so the syrup becomes incredibly valuable.
“Because Quebec makes 72 percent of the world’s maple syrup, it’s been able to set the price. As of this writing, the commodity is valued at just over $1,300 a barrel, 26 times more expensive than crude,” the report noted.
The heist was a months-long robbery between 2011 and 2012 in which nearly 3,000 tons of maple syrup were taken from a storage facility in Quebec. The total haul was valued at $18.7 million, and officials at the FPAQ didn’t realize it had been stolen until it was long gone.
The syrup was taken from a remote facility that was only inspected once a year. The thieves were able to steal giant barrels of the syrup and later began siphoning the syrup straight from barrels and replacing it with water.
The ringleader, a man named Richard Vallières, was later sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $9.4 million, with an additional six years in prison if he failed to pay, the CBC reported.
It was not clear how long the more recent alleged maple syrup thieves could face for the much smaller lift.