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Suspect in Metro Vancouver Masonic hall arsons faces more charges

Firefighters on the scene at the fire at the Masonic Temple on Lonsdale Avenue Tuesday, March 30. North Vancouver RCMP

The BC Prosecution Service confirmed Tuesday more charges have been laid in connection with arson at three Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver last week.

Benjamin Kohlman, who has already been charged with three offences, has been charged with two counts of arson and three additional counts of breaking and entering and committing arson.

The prosecution service said in a statement to Global News the new arson charges are connected with fires at two Masonic halls in North Vancouver.

The break-and-enter charges also relate to those locations and a third location at a Masonic Hall in Vancouver.

Click to play video: 'Charges laid in one of three arson attacks on Metro Vancouver Masonic Halls' Charges laid in one of three arson attacks on Metro Vancouver Masonic Halls
Charges laid in one of three arson attacks on Metro Vancouver Masonic Halls – Mar 31, 2021

Read more: Man charged with arson in connection with fire at Masonic Hall in Vancouver

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The first fire broke out just before 6:45 a.m. on March 30 at the Masonic centre at 1371 Lynn Valley Road in North Vancouver.

Then, just a few minutes later, RCMP and firefighters were called to the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (North Vancouver Masonic Centre) at 1142 Lonsdale Ave.

Later that morning, Vancouver police confirmed they were investigating an arson at the Masonic Hall near Rupert Street and East 29 Avenue.

Video shared with Global News showed an undercover officer approaching a man with a jerry can at that location as the building behind him smoulders.

Vancouver police said they credited the off-duty officer for confronting the suspect, who was later arrested in Burnaby.

Click to play video: 'Man spotted with jerrycan near site of Masonic hall fire' Man spotted with jerrycan near site of Masonic hall fire
Man spotted with jerrycan near site of Masonic hall fire – Mar 30, 2021

Read more: Arrest made after arsons at 3 separate Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver

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A Masonic Temple or Masonic centre is a location where a group known as freemasons meet.

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