Police in B.C.’s Southern Interior are investigating what could be a case of vigilantism following attempted arson, gunshots and possible stolen property.
According to Chase RCMP, the incidents revolve around a residence on Hilliam Road in Scotch Creek, a small community approximately 45 minutes north of Salmon Arm.
Police say on Sept. 7, officers first attended the home following reports of gunfire at 2:20 p.m.
“Investigation determined a group of individuals attended the address to confront its occupants regarding stolen property,” police said in a press release from Sept. 9.
“A loud noise resembling a gunshot was heard coming from within a residence and a male yelling at the group to leave the property.
“A male was then seen exiting the house carrying a shotgun walking towards the group who had retreated to the roadway. The male then returned to the house.”
Police say members from the Chase and Salmon Arm detachments responded to the incident, along with the RCMP’s South East District Emergency Response Team.
Officers entered the residence to find the suspect had fled, adding the firearm was not recovered.
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“The Chase RCMP are always concerned when people decide to bypass law enforcement and take matters into their own hands,” police said on Sept. 9.
“Not only is there a concern for their personal safety, there is a risk that investigations can be jeopardized and key evidence can be lost.”
Three days later, on Sept. 10, Chase officers were once again called to the home, this time at 8:30 p.m. following a report of suspicious activity, which turned out to be a purposely-set fire.
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Police said no one was home when officers arrived and found a fire starting on a wall of the residence. They added that the Scotch Creek and Celista fire departments were training in the area and quickly responded, extinguishing the fire and saving the structure.
“Examination of the fire determined that it was purposely set,” said Chase RCMP. “Police are investigating to determine who may have set the fires.
“The Chase RCMP Detachment is concerned the attempted burning of the building is an escalation of the conflict between a group of local residents and the previous occupants of the house. The RCMP does not condone vigilantism and would recommend the public to leave investigations to the police.”
If you have any information regarding this incident, you are asked to contact the Chase RCMP detachment at 250- 679-3221 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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