The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is turning to the public for help after a series of incidents at local churches including threats of arson, vandalism and mischief.
Since June 2, 2021, there have been 13 incidents reported at churches in Vancouver. These incidents range from paint being thrown on property to lighter fluid and rags found next to a church.
"A church building near Little Mountain was vandalized around 9 p.m. on June 8 by four people dressed in black. They threw red paint on property, posted signs, and painted graffiti that referenced residential schools," said Sgt. Steve Addison of one incident.
Other incidents of note include threats to burn down a South Vancouver church on Canada Day, orange paint being thrown on a Renfrew-Collingwood church on Canada Day (around 10:45 p.m.), and a rock being thrown through the window of a Kitsilano church between July 4 and 7, according to a VPD media release.
"The pastor of a South Cambie church was making his early-morning rounds on July 20 when he discovered a gallon of lighter fluid and rags near the side of the building at 4 a.m. He also saw a suspicious man standing in the middle of the road staring at the church," Addison added.
The VPD's property crime unit is investigating; so far no one has been arrested.
"Fortunately, nobody has been hurt in these Vancouver incidents and most of the damage has been minor,” said Addison. “However, we’re growing more concerned each day by the escalation of these crimes and their brazen nature, and we’re calling on the people responsible for these crimes to stop. There are more productive ways to voice your anger and express your views.”
Police are reminding people that if they see a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. Anyone with tips about past crimes can call 604-717-0613.