08:23:36 am on
Tuesday 06 Dec 2022

The Great Butter Heist
David Simmonds

The Quinte area is becoming a breeding ground for high stakes theft. The booty? Not diamonds. Not art. Not gold bullion. Instead, we’re talking about butter. a large quantity of it. Some 20,000 kilos of the stuff, worth about $200,000 have gone missing.

The Christmas Day heist.

Quinte West OPP report that on the evening of Christmas Day, two trucks and trailers full of butter were stolen from a trucking facility on Glen Miller Road. The perpetrators were dropped off at the truck stop by a black SUV. The trucks were later found, abandoned and emptied of their contents, in Toronto and Etobicoke. Police suspect that four people were involved in the operation.

Butter is a usual choice for a theft.  It is perishable and is not normally accepted as currency of the realm. Unless you had a well-developed plan to unload it for cash, you could easily devalue your investment just by sitting on it.  The plot thus thickens.

The interesting angle for me is how did the thieves manage to offload so much butter so fast?  It couldn’t have been everyday households that bought the butter. My rough and ready calculations tell me that you’d need about 4,000 purchasers forming an orderly lineup to buy enough butter to satisfy their needs for the three-month period the butter stays fresh.  

Even if my calculation is way off the mark, it’s almost impossible to imagine a great number of people participating in a butter distribution swindle, without at least one person having loose lips. Four thousand people couldn’t line up to receive their butter without attracting suspicion. For every person who agreed to participate in the purchase of the stolen property, you’d find another who was a straight arrow, so you’d have to canvass 8,000 people to get to the number you needed.

Who bought the butter?

It’s thus reasonable to conclude the recipient of the stolen butter was a wholesaler. As well, we must conclude the offloading of the trucks in Toronto and Etobicoke was just as well planned as the purloining of the butter. The plot thickens even more.

Just how would a crooked wholesaler get rid of 20,000 kilograms of hot butter? To restaurants? To hotels? To hospitals? Surely a food wholesaler with a sudden extra stock of butter to sell quickly would stand out like a sore thumb.

Commentators are already comparing the Trenton butter theft to the Great Maple Syrup Heist of 2012, wherein someone walked off with 20,000 litres of Quebec maple syrup worth $18.7 million. You’ll notice that the number of units stolen is the same as in our case. Maybe there is a pattern to the crimes. Maybe the next load to be lifted will be 20,000 kilograms of pancake mix.

Without meaning to sound gloomy regarding the likelihood of catching the Trenton suspects, I note that it took Quebec police four years to find the ringleader of the maple syrup gang and that was only after a $10,000 reward was offered. Still, find him they did and so will the Trenton OPP.

Police are no doubt going to call on the public to help identify suspects. For instance, if we see a neighbour at the supermarket buying a large amount of fresh corn on the cob out of season, we should contact the police tip line, because where there’s corn there’s usually butter. I can’t wait to go to the store to do some snooping.

A movie was made of the Quebec maple syrup theft. Why not consider doing the same for the Great Trenton Butter Theft?  Maybe George Clooney could be persuaded to make a crime caper movie (Oceans 2021?).

Shooting would be on location in Trenton. Clooney could play a ringleader who gathers a cast of loveable rogues to play the bad guys who think they have gotten away with their plan to steal some valuable diamond They are outsmarted by a sultry siren, such as Nicole Kidman, they foolishly trusted.

Clooney would be briefed on the proud history of Trenton movie making going back to World War 1 and Carry on Sergeant. Maybe he might fall in love with Trenton and purchase a pied-a-terre which he can use as a base for attending all the eastern film festivals, including, of course, the Trenton International Film Festival. Maybe Trenton will become a bigger attraction than the County.

A boost to the economy.

Will we need to butter him up? Could we convince him Trenton is on par with Lake Como, in Italy? Financing a Clooney movie, in Trenton, could boost the economy in many ways; thus, it's worth a try.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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