CBC Gem series ‘Farm Crime’ features an intrepid Killarney cop

Constable Luanne Gibb cracks canola bin theft case in Episode 4, ‘Canola Capers’


A hugely successful television series, focused on wily farm crimes across Canada, has just begun airing its second season.

Season two of Farm Crime, a true-crime series created by Big Cedar Films in Toronto, premiered this week for free on the CBC Gem streaming service.

And a determined local cop, Constable Luanne Gibb, is featured in Episode 4, ‘Canola Capers.’ 

Cst. Gibb, now retired from the RCMP, grew up on a farm near Wawanesa, and joined the Killarney detachment in 2004. In 2010 she received a tip about some suspicious canola sales at a grain elevator, involving a suspect who the RCMP believed was connected to an earlier unsolved oilseed theft.

To crack the case, Gibb teamed up with a grain scientist in Winnipeg to link the molecular makeup of the stolen canola with a particular person of interest – and succeeded. And she enlisted the help of media, including the Killarney Guide newspaper, to find more victims of the oilseed thefts.

 “It was important for farmers to check their bins, to see if they were missing canola,” says Gibb in the documentary. “Someone out there was missing $26,000 worth of canola, and might not know it.”

Someone was, and when an area farmer went to load up 29 metric tons from his bin of canola in late spring of 2010, it ran empty after just six tons. The thief had struck. 

And the chase was on to solve the crime.

The 20-minute episode also includes a clip from a page of the Manitoba Cooperator, including a photo of Cst. Gibb, and written by this reporter back in 2010 in regards to the issue of stolen canola. 

This is just one of six great documentary stories of farm crimes that have taken place across Canada, so don’t miss it!

To watch ‘Canola Capers,’ and see Cst. Luanne Gibb in action, go to this link: gem.cbc.ca/media/farm-crime/season-2/episode-4/38e815a-013b517f688

Other cracking episodes include murder hornets, baby eels, a missing mare, and even some lobster looting (keep scrolling to the end to read the episodes synopses). 

The Farm Crime doc series, now in its second season, was nominated for both the CSA and the Banff Rockie Award.

Continue on to read the full 2010 and 2011 Killarney Guide news stories related to this farm crime event.

POLICE ADVISED GRAIN BIN VIGILANCE – Grain confetti is one way to deter bin thieves, said Constable Luanne Gibb of the Killarney RCMP detachment back in 2010. Canola thefts from grain bins in the Spruce Plains area had triggered police into urging farmers to protect their inventory – especially those in out-of-the-way places and abandoned yards – through vigilance, regular checks on locks and stocks, and the use of grain confetti come harvest time. The original Killarney Guide stories appear below.

KIM LANGEN/KILLARNEY GUIDE (File photo from June 18, 2010)

Farm Crimes season two – episodes synopses

1. Invasion of the Murder Hornets (dir. Kat Jayme)

The Asian Giant Hornet, dubbed by the media as the “murder hornet,” made headlines when it arrived in America in Spring 2020. But nine months before the murder hornet became an overnight sensation, the honeybee’s deadliest natural predator had already arrived in the sleepy town of Nanaimo, BC. When a group of dedicated beekeepers discovered a nest — the first in North America — they quickly hatched a plan to eradicate it, save their honeybees and stem the invasion of the murder hornets.

2. The Million Dollar Baby Eel Deal (dir. Stephanie Joline)

Every Spring, in streams and estuaries in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, small groups of fishers fan out across the region to harvest one of the richest catches per kilogram in the world: baby eels, also known as elvers. A kilogram of elvers can sell for as much as $4,500, largely because it’s virtually impossible to breed eels in captivity and catch limits are strictly regulated to protect the species. In Spring 2018, fisheries officers received a tip about a poacher trying to sell 100 kilograms of baby eels illegally.

Knowing they had a chance to lay serious charges, officers set-up a sting operation to stop the person taking hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of elvers out of the river. But to put them away, officers would need to catch them in the act.

3. Missing Mare (dir. Alexandra Lazarowich)

When Rachael Bakker was struck by a sudden illness and unable to care for her two horses, a friend in the equine community introduced her to a woman who agreed to lease the animals. But when Rachael sought to retrieve her horses a year later, they were nowhere to be found. Instead, she discovered a chain of horse theft, illegal sales, and broken promises that stretched from Southern Ontario to Nova Scotia.

4. Canola Caper (dir. Maya Annik Bedward)

No crop has done more for Canadian farmers in the last half-century than canola. Developed in the 1970s by two scientists at the University of Manitoba, canola has become a $26 billion-dollar industry, making it Canada’s most valuable crop. In 2010, Killarney, Manitoba RCMP Cst. Luanne Gibb received a tip about some suspicious canola sales at a grain elevator. The sales had come from an individual who was a suspect in a canola theft years earlier that Gibb was unable to crack. The new case gave Gibb a second chance at finding justice for the victim farmers. But to solve the crime, she would need the help of an innovative grain scientist to put an end to the suspect’s reign of thefts.

5. The Lobster Looting at Long Cove (dir. Geoff Morrison)

In late winter 2018, the price of lobster reached an all-time high, and Nova Scotia fisherman Ken Wyatt and his colleagues along the South Shore had every reason to expect a season of unprecedented profits. But a rash of brazen lobster thefts in their community undermined their earning expectations — as well as their faith in the sanctity of an honest catch.