Police in Canada are investigating a chilling theft in a Newfoundland community after the disappearance of 30,000 litres of valuable iceberg water.
Thieves are believed to have covertly pilfered the water from a storage facility in the coastal town of Port Union last week. The water was intended for vodka production, said police.
Iceberg water is valued for its purity, and used in premium spirits, cosmetic products – and even sold as a luxury bottled water, with cases of the bottles often selling for hundreds of dollars.
The RCMP, Canada’s federal police force, announced thetheft on Wednesday and said the water has a street value of between CAD $9,000 and $12,000 (£5,300 to £7,000).
“As far as we know, so far, we’re looking at either a tanker truck or a tractor trailer,” constable Andy Renwick told CBC News.
But an employee at an iceberg water company said the shipment would likely have been contaminated during the transfer, rendering it largely worthless. “Jesus, what are they going to do with it?” he said.
Icebergs have been harvested for water for centuries. It is a difficult and potentially dangerous process – the icebergs, calved from Greenland’s ice shelf, can roll over with little warning – but the water they are formed from is believed by many to be some of the cleanest on the planet. The high labour costs associated with obtaining the ice are part of the reason why the water is so expensive.
Icebergs are harvested in late spring, when they pass by Newfoundland and Labrador, and the water, once bottled, is sold all around the world, including in China, Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Because their density is similar to concrete, the large chunks of ice are impermeable to the salt water, resulting in clean water when melted.
This week’s heist is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, but Canada has previously seen the theft of large quantities of other valuable liquids.
In 2012, thieves made off with more than CAD$18m (£10.5m) in maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec, making it the largest robbery in the country’s history.