A B.C. man has been sentenced to 40 months in jail for setting fire to three Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver
Benjamin Kohlman, 43, pleaded guilty in September to arson charges for setting three fires, two in North Vancouver and one in Vancouver.
The first fire broke out just before 6:45 a.m. on March 30 at a Masonic centre on Lynn Valley Road in North Vancouver, while a second fire reported minutes later severely damaged a Masonic hall on Lonsdale Avenue.
Kohlman was spotted leaving the third Masonic hall on Rupert Street in east Vancouver and was later arrested in Burnaby, B.C.
Crown sought three to five years in prison while defence sought two to three years.
Kohlman’s lawyer, Jessica Dawkins, said her client is sorry for his actions and he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
She said he struggles with mental health issues and just wanted to draw attention to what he described as dark souls and CSIS tracking devices.
Kohlman targeted Masonic halls in an attempt to stop the “Illuminati using mind control,” both Crown and defence lawyers told the court.
Damage is estimated at $2.5 million.
The Society of Freemasons was founded more than 300 years ago as a trade group and continues today as a social organization operating around the world.
— with files from Rumina Daya, Amy Judd and The Canadian Press