What are you willing to risk for a delicious breakfast? Does $9 million and eight years in prison seem too steep a price? You might very well think that nothing is worth that, but if you were one of the perpetrators of the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist, that is exactly the price you would have to pay. If you’re in search of a low-stakes “breakfast near me”—maybe you want to celebrate National Waffle Day on August 24th—Raff’s Cafe is the place to go.
Do you know the story of the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist? If not, now’s the time to learn about the most delicious crime of the century.
Why Steal Syrup?
People in New England take real maple syrup pretty seriously, but that’s nothing compared to the Canadians. Canada, specifically Quebec, produces 72% of all the maple syrup sold in the world. Because the yield of maple syrup can be so variable, syrup producers in Quebec came together in 1966 to regulate the market. They became the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) and keep a tight hold on the syrup industry, including controlling the price. In 2018, one barrel of maple syrup was worth $1,200. So we can see why it would be worth stealing.
So what happened? Over several months in 2011 and 2012, a group of thieves conspired and stole the contents of 9,571 barrels from FPAQ’s strategic reserve of maple syrup. (Because of course Canada has a strategic reserve of maple syrup.) The suspected inside job made away with $18.7 million in maple syrup. Sure, that’s Canadian dollars, but that’s still $14 million American. Inspectors only visited the facility the thieves stole from once a year, so their crime went undetected for several months.
In the end, carelessness was the thieves’ undoing. At first, they would steal the barrels, empty them, and then refill them with water before returning them to the facility. After making it several months without getting caught, they switched to siphoning the barrels without refilling them. When full, a maple syrup barrel weighs about 600 pounds. When an inspector was in the middle of his annual check, his suspicions were raised when he tried to climb over a barrel and it nearly toppled over.
After launching a major investigation, authorities busted the syrup thieves. They had been selling the stolen syrup in small batches to legitimate distributors in Vermont and New Brunswick who had no idea they were buying stolen goods. Police found the rest of their stash, and the thieves were sentenced to prison time or fines, or both. The suspected ringleader received the heaviest sentence. He must serve eight years in prison and pay a $9 million fine.
Breakfast Near Me at Raff’s Cafe
You probably aren’t willing to go to these lengths for breakfast. And there’s no need to when you come for “breakfast near me” at Raff’s Cafe. Whether you pour maple syrup over your waffles for National Waffle Day or you prefer pancakes, come to Raff’s for a sweet and delicious breakfast.