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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Have you heard about the "cola caper"? Three people have been arrested and charged with stealing Coca-Cola's "secret" formula and then trying to sell it. Stacey Vanek-Smith spills the beans.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH: An employee at Coke is accused of stealing information about drink recipes and, with a couple friends, trying to sell it to Pepsi for $10,000.

So, how much is Coke's legendary formula really worth?

Industry consultant, Tom Pirko:

TOM PIRKO: The idea that the crown jewels are being misappropriated is a vast overstatement.

After all, says Pirko, soft drink recipes aren't a tough code to crack: just sugar, water and a little flavoring. So why all the fuss over the formula?

PIRKO: These companies are based upon mythology. They live upon their trademark images.

One of Coke's trademarks? It's secret formula. Pirko says news of a theft could compromise one of the images Coke counts on to market its brand of flavored sugar water.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Follow Stacey Vanek Smith at @svaneksmith