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Only in Canada? Seized maple syrup gets police protection

KEDJWICK, New Brunswick -- Police in Canada have recovered more than 600 barrels of maple syrup as part of an investigation into a multi-million dollar heist.

The seized syrup was being transported under police protection from New Brunswick to Quebec, 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 would not provide more information as the investigation was ongoing.

'We're taking everything'
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.

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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.

Maple syrup production has been hampered by the unusually warm winter. WILX's Hannah Saunders reports.

"(The convoy's) under police protection going somewhere in Quebec," said Yvon Poitras, the general manager of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association.

The heist does not appear to be unprecedented -- the stolen syrup, valued at more than $20 million, was insured, the Montreal Gazette reported.

Quebec is a maple syrup superpower, producing 80 percent of the world's supply and the warehouse involved was stocked more than $30 million worth of the sticky substance. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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