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The Globe and Mail

Attacks on B.C. Justice Institute associates continue

Criminology graduate student Stacey McCann checks over a car that has been torched to track evidence Thursday afternoon at the Justice Institute of BC in Maple Ridge.

Laura Leyshon for The Globe and Mail/laura leyshon The Globe and Mail

A deliberately-set house fire in West Vancouver is the latest development in a string of troubling attacks linked to the Justice Institute and the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia.

The arson is linked to the ongoing investigation, Lower Mainland District RCMP said on Friday.

At about 2:40 a.m. on Friday, West Vancouver Police responded to a report of a house fire in the 1000 block of Lawson Ave, West Vancouver. Police put out the fire and damage was restricted to the front of the house.

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West Vancouver officers quickly determined that the fire was intentionally set, RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in a statement, adding that the home and its occupants are not linked to any criminal activity.

RCMP announced a joint Justice Institute / ICBC investigation in early September, saying the probe was linked to a number of arsons to homes and vehicles as well as to shootings of homes and vehicles throughout the Lower Mainland. At the time, RCMP said some victims were either current or former staff or students of the Justice Institute, while others were only loosely linked to the school.

In a December update, RCMP said 13 people with links to the Justice Institute had been victimized and that the investigation had revealed a link to an ICBC employee, who allegedly accessed personal information of 65 individuals, including the 13 identified victims of crime.

The latest arson adds another person to the tally.

"That number now stands at 14 victims with the addition of this new incident" Sgt Thiessen said. "This investigation remains a top priority for us, and police continue to gather considerable evidence."

The Justice Institute is a provincial institute that provides training for justice system employees, including police, sheriffs and fire fighters.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More

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