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RCMP Boosting Presence After Gas Can Fire in Invermere

Two more mischief-related incidents in Invermere have Columbia Valley RCMP increasing patrols and searching for suspects that could be responsible for lighting a gas can on fire and setting off fireworks.

Columbia Valley RCMP said both incidents remain separate investigations at this time, as they can not definitively link the recent mischievous activity to a group of people or individuals.

“At this point, we have no information being able to tell us that it’s the same youths or individuals,” said Cpl. Louis-Philippe Gendron-Fafard with Columbia Valley RCMP. “We’re making links and we have possible ideas of who it could be.”

The first reported incident involved a 5-litre gas can being lit on fire on the corner of 20th Sreet and 13th Avenue in Invermere on Monday, July 22, 2019.

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Gendron-Fafard said RCMP and the Invermere Fire Department responded just before 4:00 am as witnesses reported that four youth were responsible, with one of the young men noted to have been wearing a red sweater.

“The fire was quickly extinguished and there was no other property damage. The RCMP, at this time, is just looking for further information if anyone from the public has a little bit more information that could lead us in the right direction.”

The following day around 1:00 am, RCMP responded to reports of fireworks being set off at Invermere’s Eileen Madson Elementary School. Gendron-Fafard said officers located fireworks casings and a broken goal post on the school’s field.

Patrolling other schools that evening, Gendron-Fafard said RCMP found two park benches had been broken at J A Laird Elementary School as well.

Both incidents are just a couple weeks removed from Columbia Valley RCMP responding to a dumpster fire at Invermere’s David Thompson Secondary School. Graffiti was also found across the school and at J A Laird Elementary, prompting RCMP to increase their police presence.

More: RCMP Investigating Vandalism and Mischief at Invermere Schools (July 16, 2019)

“We’re increasing our patrols late at night and even during the daytime just to see who is around the school, who misses school that much that they need to get back there in the middle of the night,” Gendron-Fafard told MyEastKootenay.com. “We’re also working with the School District and the operation managers just to see what kind of strategy we can come up with, especially with the summer season still in full effect here and just before school starts to make sure there is no further damage.”

Columbia Valley RCMP is asking the public for any and all assistance in the investigations as they look to identify the suspect or suspects responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call the detachment at 250-342-9292 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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