Facts first: There’s a new documentary series on Netflix called Dirty Money. It comes from award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side, etc.) The first season contains six hour-long episodes, each helmed by a different director and each focusing on a different tale of corporate corruption. There’s one on the Volkswagen emissions scandal, there’s one on Martin Shkreli and his brand of pharmaceutical shenanigans, there’s even one on Donald Trump called “The Confidence Man,” which is sure to liven up your family dinner conversation if you bring it up at a large gathering and don’t mind people throwing rolls at each other while you try to eat your mashed potatoes.
But we’re not going to talk about any of that right now. We are going to talk about the season’s fifth episode, directed by Brian McGinn (Amanda Knox). And the reason we are going to do that is because that episode is titled The Maple Syrup Heist.
Are you familiar with the Great Maple Syrup Heist? There’s no wrong answer here. Either you are and we get to discuss it all again or you aren’t and I get the pleasure — the privilege — of introducing you to it. Both scenarios are great because it is one of my favorite things that has ever happened. I love heists very much and a multimillion-dollar maple syrup heist is just about as good as it gets. Right up there with the gold bucket heist. That’s high praise.
Yes, you did just read the phrase “multimillion-dollar maple syrup heist.” I recommend saying it out loud. It’s really quite fun.
The quick version is as follows: In 2012, officials at the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) discovered that over 1,000 barrels worth of maple syrup had been stolen from one of their warehouses, which is a big deal because a barrel of pure Canadian maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of crude oil. An investigation ensued and the people responsible for the heist were tracked down, but not before many obnoxious online goofballs (me, mostly) were able to get off their jokes about it all.