If, like me, you dig a killer (not literarily) heist film, and fancy yourself a bit of man with an edge, you might have imagined that one “perfect” job. You know, that last heist, right before you get out of the business for good. Those gold bars, diamonds, computer codes or plain ol’ bundles of cash will come in handy when you set up your luxurious “retirement” palace on a secluded Caribbean island.
Mark Wahlberg made his heist dreams come true in the remake of The Italian Job. Vin Diesel tried to get the job done in the Fast and Furious film franchise. Of course, the fictional characters these actors play will always get pulled out of retirement for “one last job” as long as there is a ton of sequel money to be made. But you’re smarter than that. If you did pull off a robbery or a heist, you’d be Mr. Slick, and do it right.
All you have to do is figure out what you could take — without harming anyone, of course — while making a truckload of money in the process. Hey, I’ve got a great idea for you. How about some Canadian maple syrup?
Don’t laugh. Maple syrup is a rare commodity, and it’s worth a hell of a lot. And if you think a maple syrup heist is out of the question, you couldn’t be more wrong. Some forward-thinking individuals have done just that — and they almost got away with it.
Maple syrup, as it turns out, is pure gold.
The “Great Maple Syrup Caper” started in 2011, and finished up in 2012. A warehouse near Quebec City, and northeast of Montreal, was relieved of a great deal of the gooey stuff. The thieves who planned and executed this heist were in it for the long game. They tapped into thousands of barrels of maple syrup over a period of time, and then made off with the loot. Before they transported their stolen product across international borders, they replaced the missing syrup they’d siphoned off with water, for the simple reason that the syrup they’d slowly stolen had a street value (yes, maple syrup has a street value) of about $18 million dollars.
Police in Canada and the United States eventually tracked down the thieves. Jean-François Bédard, the last suspect to elude capture, was finally apprehended in Montreal after a year of running away from the powers that be.
The Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve in Quebec — and no, I’m not making that name up — was caught off guard by this imaginative heist. Oil, it seems, isn’t the only valuable liquid people are willing to go to great lengths to procure. With well over half of the world’s annual maple syrup supply coming from Quebec, the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve has a lot of sway over maple syrup prices. The stuff isn’t cheap. And so jobs like the “Great Maple Syrup Caper” become worth the risk.
Have I piqued your interest yet?
Money is to be had in the illicit and the legitimate maple syrup game. While I’m not really advocating maple syrup theft here (let’s dissuade the easily influenced), the notion can lead to some very interesting fantasies. When you’re sitting on a tropical beach somewhere, surrounded by bikini-clad women, “syrup thief” might not sound as sexy as a “diamond thief,” but hey … your pancake condiment money is just as good as illicit diamond profits.
Even Hollywood wants to get in on the act. Sony Pictures is set to produce a movie about the Canadian maple syrup heist, starring ‘How I met Your Mother’s’ Jason Segel. The flick will be a mixture of comedy and drama (a dramedy). Well, what did you expect? It’s a great idea, but one a thief like Thomas Crown (even if he is fictional) would undoubtedly never touch. Some situations are just to “sticky” for the criminal elite.