36-year-old Man charged with Saint-Valere beehive thefts

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Provincial police have arrested a 36-year-old man from the Laurentians in connection with 184 beehives that went missing last week from a locked enclosure in Saint-Valère, Que. Marco Beausoleil, 36, appeared at the Victoriaville courthouse on Wednesday and was charged with theft.

The hives, which contained about five million bees, were owned by Francis Labonté, owner of Entreprises Francis Labonté, who sold the honey to Miel Labonté, a company owned by his father Jean-Marc Labonté.

The Labonté family said the hives went missing overnight between April 25 and 26.

The stolen hives were almost all rented by blueberry farmers to help pollinate their crops this summer. Jean-Marc Labonté told Radio-Canada that he estimated the loss at $200,000.

The Labonté family is offering a reward of $5,000 to $10,000 for anyone who finds the hives. Beausoleil was released after his court appearance. He is due back in court on June 27.

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