The RCMP is investigating an act of vandalism and theft, along with a suspicious vehicle fire, all of which occurred at a Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project (TMX) site near Merritt.
During the early-morning hours of May 19, Merritt Mounties received a report of a suspicious vehicle fire after work crews on site discovered a blue 2018 Peterbilt tractor rope truck had burned. The suspicious blaze resulted in a total loss of the truck, which had been targeted earlier in the weekend by an act of mischief and fuel theft.
According to RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, the fire scene has been secured by Merritt RCMP for a full examination completed by forensic specialists and fire investigators.
“RCMP has since learned that there were individuals camping over the weekend in the immediate area of the impacted vehicle,” O’Donaghey said. “GIS investigators are seeking to identify those campers, as they may hold key information.”
Police are also asking all motorists who may have travelled thru the area of Highway 5A and Tillery Road, outside of Merritt, on the evening of May 18 into the early morning hours of May 19, to review their dash camera footage and contact police.
“At this stage of the investigation, it is unknown whether the acts were targeted in nature or simply crimes of opportunity,” O’Donaghey said.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262 or the RCMP Southeast District GIS team at 250-869-2215. Those with information and wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.