Montreal

SQ arrests 2 after string of Quebec cellphone tower fires

Quebec provincial police have arrested a man and a woman, both in their 20s, after seven fires at telecommunications towers in recent days.

A man and a woman, both in their 20s, arrested in the Laurentians

A number of cellphone towers have been set on fire in the past week in Quebec. On Monday, two were on fire in Prévost, north of Montreal. (Simon-Marc Charron/CBC)

Quebec provincial police have arrested a man and a woman, both in their 20s, after a string of fires at telecommunications towers in recent days.

There have been seven cellphone tower fires in the province, mostly north of Montreal, since May 1.

The arrest was made overnight, after firefighters were called to put out fires at two more cellphone towers, in Blainville and Saint-Jérôme, just after midnight.

Sgt. Louis-Philippe Bibeau said investigators are questioning the two individuals to see if they might be connected to the fires.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, two tower fires were set in Laval — one causing an estimated $200,000 in damage.

On Monday, in Prévost, in the Laurentians, two towers were also set on fire. The damage was estimated at $1 million. 

There have been similar acts of vandalism in England and the United States targeting, in particular, 5G cell phone towers.

False narratives around 5G technology and the coronavirus have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

They vary widely from claims that the coronavirus is a coverup for 5G deployment to those who say new 5G installations have created the virus.

Some 50 fires targeting cell towers and other equipment have been reported in Britain this month, leading to three arrests. About 16 have been torched in the Netherlands, with attacks also reported in Ireland, Cyprus, and Belgium.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted about the phenomenon Wednesday night. 

"Vandalizing cellphone towers does nothing but threaten emergency services and impact the daily lives of Canadians across the country," Trudeau wrote.

"These recent acts are serious criminal offences and carry severe penalties."

With files from The Canadian Press

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