RCMP investigate arson and criminal harassment
On February 7 at 1:28 a.m., Elk Valley Regional RCMP attended a reported vehicle fire behind the Greenwood Mall in Sparwood along with Sparwood Fire Department and BC Ambulance.
Upon attendance, police located three vehicles damaged by a fire which appeared to have been deliberately set, along with damage to a stairwell and deck area leading to apartments in a building adjacent to the parked vehicles.
Video surveillance was collected and a suspect vehicle type identified. Further evidence was collected later the same morning, with video surveillance being collected from all over Sparwood as well as Fernie in an attempt to locate the vehicle involved.
Police were able to establish grounds to seize a vehicle from a possible suspect in the early afternoon of February 7.
The seizure was completed to preserve evidence located in the vehicle related to the arson and other investigations.
A further review of this and additional files involving all the parties involved led to the arrest of a 58-year-old male Fernie resident and a 53-year-old female Sparwood resident on February 9, with a charge of criminal harassment being the primary offence.
The cellphones of both suspects were seized as further evidence.
“The criminal harassment and the arson investigations are ongoing, but police believe these offences are related and involve the same parties. The victims of the offences have been updated and are being supported by RCMP Victim Services. The two suspects cannot be identified as they have not yet been formally charged with an offence by the BC Crown Counsel office,” reported Elk Valley RCMP Detachment commander S/Sgt. Svend Nielsen.
Police are seeking additional witnesses from the early morning fire on February 7.
Fire crews and another witness recall seeing a blue truck with two male witnesses who came upon the scene of the fire and attempted to alert the parties inside the building, but left when Sparwood Fire Dept arrived on scene.
“We would like these two witnesses to contact Elk Valley Regional RCMP,” said S/Sgt. Nielsen.
Also, if anyone in the vicinity of the event on the evening of February 7 around 1 a.m. through = to 2 a.m. could review any dash camera evidence or if they recall seeing a 2012 silver four door Ford Fiesta in the downtown area of Sparwood or travelling toward Fernie shortly after the incident, can they please also contact Elk Valley Regional RCMP to speak with an officer at 250-425-6233.
Any witness can also contact BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) to provide their evidence anonymously.
Elk Valley Regional RCMP would like to thank RDEK Fire Commissioner Dave Boreen and Sparwood Fire Chief Sheldon Tennant for their assistance during this investigation.
e-KNOW file photo