British Columbia

2 teens arrested in connection with series of library box arson fires

Coquitlam RCMP says tips from the public have led to arrests in connection with a series of arson fires in the Tri-Cities area community library boxes.

Police said concerted effort from the city, fire officials and the public led to the arrests and charges

Coquitlam RCMP said two teens have been arrested in connection with a series of arson fires set to 11 Little Free Libraries in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. (Coquitlam RCMP)

Coquitlam RCMP say tips from the public have led to arrests in connection with a series of arson fires in the Tri-Cities area community library boxes.

In an emailed statement, RCMP said two Port Coquitlam teens, 17 and 19, were arrested Friday, July 12, and are facing a charge each of arson causing damage to property.

Cpl Michael Mclaughlin said there were 11 fires in total, the first of which was discovered in Elks Park in Port Coquitlam, Mar 20, 2019. 

Over the course of two months, police received reports of 10 more fires being started, the last one occurring on May 18.

McLaughlin said the RCMP were aware of the arson fires, and had started to notice each was being set at approximately the same time in the same general area, but the investigation had become difficult.

"Some of the fires, we didn't even know about until after the boxes had been cut down and taken away, which obviously is a huge problem for evidence gathering."

Strong community reaction

RCMP say its call for public help to identify possible suspects resulted in many tips. But it was one tip in particular that led to the two teens being charged.

"We really had to get the public on board [...] to make sure we were getting all the appropriate evidence, that everybody knew what they needed to know to help the investigation," said McLaughlin.

"This investigation is not over. We are asking anybody else that has information to come forward. There is certainly a possibility of more charges or even more arrests."

Anyone with more information is asked to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.

The two teens, whose names are not being released, are expected to appear in court Oct 10.

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