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Commodity Thefts Sweep Canada


Syrup, potatoes, bees, cattle, corn, tomatoes, and chickens have all been stolen this year.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Something very odd is going on in Canada. After researching the $30 million maple syrup heist this morning, I stumbled over a raft of other bulk food thefts reported in Canada.

For instance, a "football field's worth" of potatoes was stolen from Richmond, British Columbia. The farmer affected, Bill Zylmans, said the theft of the not-quite-fully-grown crop was worth about $3,000 although it would have been worth much more in a few weeks' time (about $5,000) and would have a huge impact on his business.

Crop thefts are an annual problem in Canada, but are generally much smaller in size. The thefts this year are in such large quantities -- and from such hard to access areas -- that police are perplexed at "a systematic theft of bulk food crops." Indeed it's hard to imagine how thieves are transporting their haul and where they're keeping it.

In July, it was reported that thieves made off with hives in British Columbia containing 500,000 bees and 3,600 kilograms of honey worth $100,000. "It's not something a layperson could do," said a beekeeper quoted by CBC News. Around the same time, 150 hives and millions of bees worth $60,000 were stolen in Alberta.

Approximately 6,000 cattle have been stolen from Alberta ranchers, which has not made headline because, apparently, the same number are stolen every year. Given that at $1,600 a head the cattle rustling is a nearly $10 million caper, one would think there would be more attention paid to it.

However, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they are investigating a theft of high moisture grain corn from Vauxhall.

While the syrup, potato, bee, cattle, and corn thefts are so far unsolved, there was an arrest in the theft of 72,000 kilograms of chicken stolen in Quebec. In that case, the hapless thieves tried to sell the poultry back to the person they stole it from.

Needlesstosay, farmers are stepping up their vigilance over their crops. In Haoldimand, a farmer caught someone stealing his tomatoes and was able to detain the thief until police arrived.

Crop thefts are not unique to Canada. Earlier this year, Austrian police stopped thieves that were transporting 8.6 tons of garlic. They became suspicious when they saw "three over-loaded and sagging vans about to cross into Hungary from Austria." The garlic was worth nearly $40,000.

See also: Sticky Fingers! $30 Million in Maple Syrup Stolen in Quebec.
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