True Crimes of Maple

July 15, 2020

Burglary, vandalism and heists, oh my! The hidden world of maple crimes, revealed.

Inside the sweet world of syrup, a picture of crime emerges . . .

Maple Police Blotter

Fraud – Vermont, July 3, 2020: Police have charged Richard Blackmer, 38, with dozens of charges accusing him of defrauding people in transactions involving hay, maple-syrup, farm equipment and model cars. Blackmer was arrested after a month-long investigation by authorities in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. He has plead not-guilty to 30 charges.

Poaching – Washington, October 8, 2019: The Department of Justice has indicted two men in connection with a maple-theft-gone-awry.  The pair allegedly felled several big leaf maple trees in Olympia National Park with the intention to sell the lumber as they had done in the past. But, when felled, the men found a wasp’s nest in the branches of one of the trees. The fire they set to destroy the nest quickly spiraled out of control, consumed the maples, and went on to rage for three months, costing an estimated $4.5 million to contain. A report from the Seattle Times estimates that hundreds of maples are poached from area parks every year.

Traffic Violations – Louisiana, July 23, 2019: New Orleans Police Officers closed a street after a tanker truck carrying 1,000 gallons of syrup started leaking. The driver was cited with improper loading and violation of size and weight limits. While the type of syrup is still unconfirmed, the question remains: why would anyone want that much molasses?

Bear Burglary – Vermont, July 22, 2019: Vermont Fish and Wildlife apprehended a bear, age unknown, suspected of breaking and entering. The bear allegedly entered a home through the kitchen window and ravaged the pantry, leaving behind a mess. Photographs of the scene indicate that the bear drank all the maple syrup before fleeing.

Vandalism – United Kingdom, May 4, 2019: William Harker, 39, was sentenced to two years in prison after ransacking his neighbors’ home and pouring maple syrup all over their possessions. The judge found that Harker committed the sticky crime in retaliation for a series of noise complaints the neighbors made in response to his wild parties. The press has dubbed Harker “the neighbor from hell.”

Assault – Prince Edward Island, December 18, 2018Henry Joseph Doucette, 60, was sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $200 on two assault convictions.  Doucette assaulted his two siblings during an argument over who owned the trees Doucette was tapping for maple syrup.

Theft – Alberta, November 29, 2018: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police apprehended two women and one man in a fleeing vehicle in possession of $20,000 worth of stolen maple syrup. Among other things, Shelby Kalman, 20, Sean Mclaughlin, 28, and Char-lee Fernell, 23, have been charged with possession of stolen goods and possession of controlled substances.

Juvenile Mayhem – New Hampshire, November 23, 2018: Rindge Police Chief called for an end to a longstanding Halloween tradition after a suspect was caught on camera dousing a police cruiser in maple syrup, and community members reported widespread mayhem as teenagers wreaked havoc strewing the town with toilet paper, garbage and food, and burning furniture in the streets on a Saturday night. According to police, the perpetrators will be referred to a diversion program this time, but will not escape justice again.

Vandalism – Missouri, November 23, 2018: The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported that three cars belonging to one man have been vandalized by maple syrup. The crime was discovered when one of the man’s cars died while he was driving on the highway. He opened the hood to discover that maple syrup had been poured in the gas tank. Upon returning home, he discovered similar damage in two of his other vehicles. The unknown vandal remains at large.

Vandalism and Theft – Vermont, November 24, 2017: Vermont State Police are investigating after someone used an axe to cut holes in 8 barrels of maple syrup, causing 300 gallons to leak on the floor of the sugarhouse where it was being stored. According to Cindy Mayer of Mayer Maple products, an additional 12 gallons of bottled maple syrup are also missing.

The Great Canadian Maple Heist – Quebec, 2011-2012: Over the course of several months, thieves stole 9,571 barrels of maple syrup, valued at $18.7 million CND in what was eventually discovered to be an “inside job.” Seventeen men were arrested in connection to the theft, several of whom were convicted and sentenced to jail time and hefty fines. For more information on this most infamous of maple crimes, here are takes by Vanity Fair, The Culture Trip, and History 101.