Kelowna teens nabbed for pepper spray attack and arson

Late-summer Rutland porch fire linked to a bear spray attack on a disabled woman, though not another porch fire as initially surmised

  • Mon Jan 14th, 2013 8:00pm
  • News

Fire crews spray down the front porch area of a residence at 145 Briarwood Road on Friday

An arson at a Rutland home last summer and a bear spray attack on a disabled woman have been linked to two wayward teens.

A 14-year-old and 15-year-old have been arrested for both incidents and police are recommending the 14-year-old be charged for the unprovoked attack on a disabled woman and her care worker in Chichester Wetlands Park on Sept. 1, 2012.

The youths were said to have been riding their bikes through the park with another teen when they spotted the handicapped woman and her care worker on a park bench and decided to spray them, then ride away.

Following an investigation, police have now determined the same teens who executed the cowardly attack were also responsible for an arson at a home full of people the day before.

On the afternoon of Aug. 31, a house fire was reported on 145 Briarwood Road, two blocks off Leathead Road and only a handful of blocks from the park. The same individuals are alleged to have set fire to a front porch while a number of people, and their pets, were still inside the home.

The pair have been arrested and were released on a promise to appear in court later this month. The motive for the attacks is unknown as it does not appear the arsonists knew the victims.

“I don’t know if there’s any relation whatsoever,” said Cnst. Kris Clark, Kelowna RCMP spokesperson, when asked during Monday’s press briefing if the arson was a targeted event.

The fire did have significant consequences for the victims and their three cats who were all forced to move out of the home.

The fire caused $175,000 of damage and initially proved challenging for firefighters and police investigators as it occurred in conjunction with a similar porch fire in the area. Two days after the incident on Briarwood, another porch fire occurred at 456 Hein Road, less than a kilometre west of the first fire.

Police quickly determined the two were unrelated; although it has taken several months to link the attack in the park and the fire.

It took three fire engines and a total of 16 fire personnel to contain the Briarwood blaze. The pair are expected in court next month.