Police in Canada have seized more than 600 barrels of maple syrup in New Brunswick as part of an investigation into the theft of millions worth of syrup in Quebec and are transporting it back to Quebec under police protection, officials said Wednesday.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers reported large quantities of syrup missing last month during a routine inventory, finding empty barrels at a site of the province's global strategic reserve at St-Louis-de-Blandford.
Quebec provincial police Sgt. Christine Coulombe said Wednesday police executed a search warrant in Kedjwick, New Brunswick last week, but could not provide more information as the investigation was ongoing.
However, the owner of Kedjwick-based exporter S.K. Export Inc. said police visited last week and told him it was related to the missing syrup. Etienne St-Pierre said his usual suppliers, small producers based in Quebec, sold it to him.
This has left the New Brunswick exporter in a sticky situation. He's been locked out of his office, which he said is under Royal Canadian Mounted Police watch.
"They came in and said we're taking everything, there wasn't much I could do," said Etienne St-Pierre, who said he initially thought the officers were joking.
Saying he has nothing to hide, Etienne St. Pierre has since shown all his paperwork to investigators trying to get to the bottom of the great syrup heist.
The shipment of the pancake-topper was making its way back to Quebec in a heavily guarded convoy of 16 trailer-loads on Wednesday.
"(The convoy's) under police protection going somewhere in Quebec," said Yvon Poitras, the general manager of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association.
Quebec is a maple syrup superpower, producing 80 percent of the world's maple syrup and the warehouse involved stocked more than $30 million worth of the sticky substance.