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Maple syrup holds a proud place in the history and culture of Quebec, Canada. It’s also a big part of Quebec’s economy, with 72% of the world’s maple syrup produced in Quebec alone. Due to tactics employed by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ), the NPR-backed podcast “The Indicator” estimates that maple syrup is valued at approximately $1,300 per barrel — over 20 times more than crude oil. The FPAQ controls the available syrup supply, never releasing enough maple syrup to meet demand, which increases the price. As a result, most of the world’s maple syrup is stored in various reserves. Between 2011 and 2012, a group of thieves decided to liberate the syrup from an FPAQ facility in Saint- Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec. Stealing syrup from Canada doesn’t sound as glamorous as stealing cash from a Vegas casino, but their plan could rival the plot of Ocean’s Eleven .
The heist, led by a man named Richard Vallières, involved transporting the barrels to a remote sugar shack in the Canadian wilderness, where they siphoned off the maple syrup, refilled the barrels with water, and returned the barrels to the facility. The stolen syrup was then trucked east to New Brunswick and south across the border into Vermont. Wisely, the thieves sold their ill-gotten goods in small batches, avoiding suspicion from legitimate syrup distributors. In what is now known as the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist, thieves made off with 10,000 barrels of maple syrup valued at $18.7 million. This remains one of the most costly heists in Canadian history. Vallières himself became a millionaire and took his family on three tropical vacations in one year. Unfortunately, the thieves got sloppy and stopped refilling the barrels with water. When an FPAQ inspector visited the targeted facility in the fall of 2012, he accidentally knocked over one of the empty barrels. The inspector alerted the police, who
would go on to arrest 17 men in connection to the theft, including Vallières himself.
Police were then able to recover hundreds of barrels of the stolen syrup, but most of it was never recovered— likely lost to pancake breakfasts far away.
At the FPAQ facility, syrup was stored in unmarked metal barrels and only inspected once a year.
FSTN in the Community Caleb Fleschner Goes toWashington
As part of the ringing, some of our teammembers dress up, sing Christmas music, and hand out candy. They’re a bright presence greeting shoppers as they come and go, and our team of volunteers has made a remarkable impact — there were years when they collected upwards of $1,000 for the Salvation Army! If you ever get a chance to volunteer for the Salvation Army during the holidays, we highly recommend it. Not only is it rewarding to give back and to know you’re doing something good for others, but it’s also a great way to get out in the community.
FSTN Supports the Salvation ArmyWith Bell Ringing!
For the past several years, our employees have volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. This is something we really enjoy and plan to continue. This holiday season, 28 employees volunteered to take one-hour shifts at our local Walmart. We volunteer a full work day to the cause.
FSTN Attorney Sworn inWith the U.S. Supreme Court
We want to send a special congratulations to attorney Caleb Fleschner. He was in Washington, D.C. last month to be sworn in with the U.S. Supreme Court. By getting sworn in with the highest court in the land, Caleb now has the ability to practice law or argue a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Check out the pictures of Caleb at the Supreme Court Building!
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