A security guard’s vehicle was set ablaze in a North Kamloops alley in an apparent arson attack during patrols of properties in the area of Tranquille Road, MacKenzie Avenue and Yew Street.
Ed Lapierre, owner of Lapper Security, the company for which the guard works, told KTW he was awaiting results of a police investigation, having filed a report and submitted footage of the June 25 incident.
Lapierre said that while he is confident the suspect will be arrested, he’s not confident charges will follow.
He said the vehicle was torched while the guard was patrolling the Jamaican Kitchen restaurant, at Tranquille and Yew, with a partner just before midnight.
The vehicle, which was the guard’s personal vehicle and not a Lapper security car, was parked behind the ASK Wellness Society at 433 Tranquille Rd., just a few doors down from the restaurant.
The guards were alerted to the fire from someone who yelled out. They tried to get water on it, but had to call in a patrol car. A colleague knocked down the blaze with a fire extinguisher, Lapierre said.
Lapierre said it appeared that some sort of accelerant had been poured on the hood, which burned, but the vehicle remains operational.
“The headlights and hood were damaged, but no mechanical damage was sustained,” Lapierre said, noting his guards have previously had rocks thrown at them and have had windshields smashed.
Lapierre said his guards report being threatened and chased with weapons in that alleyway nightly, but no one has reported being injured.
“They basically walk away and call RCMP or call our patrol division,” Lapierre said.
The burned vehicle, Lapierre said, was parked under a camera in the alley and they were able to obtain footage of the suspect, a person Lapierre said he recognized as someone Lapper guards have seen hanging out at The Loop drop-in centre nearby, at Tranquille and MacKenzie.
Lapierre said the suspect is someone he has helped out personally.
He said the guard whose vehicle burned was a little shaken by the experience, but didn’t lose any time from work and even assisted in catching someone in connection with a break-and-enter in another area of Kamloops the next day.
Lapierre said this type of damage is something Lapper security guards are confronted with when patrolling areas where the city’s homeless and marginalized populations congregate.
“They have few good days, so when you’re talking to them, they’re always angry and they don’t understand that we have a job to do,” Lapierre said. “It’s not personal. We just need them to move along.”
Lapper has been patrolling the alley around the ASK Wellness Society and ARPA Developments properties in and behind the 400-block of Tranquille Road for about a month. The company was hired due to a noticed uptick in crime and social disorder, ASK Wellness Society executive director Bob Hughes told KTW.
Security guards are also patrolling the Jamaican Kitchen property at the request of ASK, as the restaurant has been burglarized twice in the past two months.
Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week