Arson charge laid against Vancouver man in vacant home fire
38-year-old Johnathan Lewis Durocher of Vancouver is charged in connection with fire Sunday in West Point Grey
A 38-year-old Vancouver man is expected to appear in court today after he was arrested Sunday near a suspected arson at a vacant home on Vancouver's West Side.
Johnathan Lewis Durocher is charged with arson causing damage to a property in connection with the fire on Drummond Drive near West 2nd Ave in West Point Grey yesterday.
It is the latest in at least 29 suspicious fires at vacant homes in the city this year, police said.
Last year, there were only five, said Const. Jason Doucette of the Vancouver Police Department.
Police said little about Durocher in a media briefing this morning, but a court search revealed Durocher has had a prolific recent criminal history in the Vancouver area.
In the past two years, he's been convicted 21 times of theft under $5,000 for offences in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond and has also breached his conditions eight times.
Doucette was asked repeatedly about possible motives, and whether the unusual string of fires might be caused by squatters, or is politically motivated by anger against empty homes.
He said it's too early for police to comment.
"I don't think people should jump to conclusions," said Doucette.
"When we look at things like motive, it could be something that's very mainstream that everyone's assuming, it could be things that we haven't even thought of."
With files from Eric Rankin