RCMP in Pemberton are investigating the burning of two school buses, reported at 4:30 a.m. on June 6 by a resident driving down Portage Road. The fires are considered arson with evidence of gasoline tanks and bottles of accelerant on site, and the investigators are looking at past arsons in the area including vandalism and arson involving Pemberton Taxi buses in 2009.
Rick Hume, director of facilities and services for the Sea to Sky School District, said two of the buses were completely destroyed while another suffered minor damage. They were able to adapt to the loss of two buses in the short term and get kids to school.
"That day, Monday, was a collaboration day in Whistler... which freed up one bus and driver, so with the spare bus from Whistler and the spare bus in Pemberton we made it happen," said Hume.
On Tuesday, the school district rented a bus in Vancouver for the remainder of the school year.
As for replacing buses, both were older. One was insured for $50,000 and the other for $25,000. New buses cost $150,000, so even with insurance they will be on the hook for $225,000 as well as the cost of the bus rental - money that just isn't in the district's already tight budget.
They are applying to the province for some emergency funding, but at this point the school district does not know where the funding will come from.
"That's a good question," he said.
If you have any information, contact Corporal Shore of the Pemberton RCMP at 604-894-6634 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Break and enters likely related
Whistler RCMP believe a pair of break and enters reported last week may be related.
Just after 10 a.m. on June 3, the RCMP received a complaint that a vacation residence in the 2400-block of Cheakamus Way had been broken into. The thief kicked a side door in, taking a 42-inch Samsung television and other miscellaneous items. It's not known when the break-in occurred.
Later that day the RCMP received notice of another break-in in the 2700-block of Sproatt Drive, also a vacation residence. In this case the back patio door was smashed to gain entry. A television, artwork and wine were stolen. The break-in happened in the two weeks since the owner last used the property.
The RCMP believes the two incidents could be related and the investigation is continuing.
There was also a break-and-enter reported in Pemberton just before 9 a.m. on June 3. In this case, the front door of business in the 7400-block of Prospect was pried open, with the thief taking a 32-inch Insignia television valued at $350.
The number of bike thefts was down slightly in the week of May 31 to June 7, with three reports. There were five the previous week, prompting the RCMP to remind owners to take care when securing their bikes.
Two other thefts were reported last week. On June 6 the Pemberton RCMP received a report that between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on June 3 a thief broke into a trailer at Highway 99 and the entrance to Pemberton and stole a 13-inch MacBook.
On June 7 at 10:58 a.m., the RCMP received a call regarding a break-in to a construction trailer on Fitzsimmons road. The alarm was triggered at 5:41 a.m. that morning. A padlock was cut to enter the gate and the locked door to the trailer opened. A monitor, keyboard and sound system were taken that were valued at $700.
Traffic stop results in cocaine bust
At 12:30 a.m. on June 5, a vehicle was pulled over in Pemberton after police determined that it was registered to a driver who didn't currently have a licence. The police smelled marijuana, at which point the individual was detained for possession and the vehicle searched.
The RCMP search discovered 17 "flaps" - containers with up to a gram of cocaine in each - in what appeared to be two soft drink cans. A 28-year-old Pemberton man was given a 24-hour driving prohibition and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The RCMP made several traffic stops for minor infractions over the past week, which resulted in several impaired driving prohibitions.
On June 2 at 2:25 a.m. the RCMP stopped a red Ford Focus at Highway 99 and Alpine Way with a burnt-out licence plate light. The driver provided a breath sample in the "warn" range, resulting in a three-day prohibition.
On further investigation, the police also discovered that the Alberta plates on the vehicle were reported stolen. The driver, a 23-year-old from London, Ontario said he found the plates and used them to save money. He was issued tickets for six different motor vehicle infractions.
On June 3, the RCMP stopped a pickup on Blackcomb Way, also with a burnt-out licence plate light. The driver failed the roadside test, resulting in a 90-day driving prohibition and 30-day vehicle impound for a 35-year-old Whistler male.
At 12:50 a.m. on June 4, the RCMP stopped a vehicle on Northlands Boulevard - also with a burnt-out licence plate light. The driver, a 37-year-old from Whistler, blew 0.05 per cent on the roadside test, which was under the 0.06 "warn" range and was give a 24-hour driving suspension.
A 48-year-old male from Lillooet was given a 24-hour suspension after police approached a vehicle on the side of the road and detected an odour of marijuana. The vehicle was registered to a prohibited driver, but the driver was not the registered owner.
On June 5 at 2:20 a.m., the RCMP stopped a vehicle on Northlands Boulevard that was driving without any lights. A 54-year-old male was unable to produce a licence, and failed the roadside test to earn a 90-day prohibition and 30-day impound.
Just 16 minutes later a traffic stop at Highway 99 and Lorimer for failing to stop at the red light before making a right turn yielded another impaired driver. A 24-year-old female from Vancouver failed the roadside test and was given a 90-day prohibition and 30-day impound.
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