Prankster is causing heavy damage to hotels and restaurants
NORTH VANCOUVER – Pranksters are causing heavy damage to restaurants and hotel rooms through the activation of sprinkler systems.
“North Vancouver RCMP are renewing their warning today about a telephone prankster, this time to include restaurants. Last night the man who had previously called hotels also called various restaurants in North Vancouver, including Denny’s, A&W, Mcdonald’s and Subway, at times posing as a fire marshal,” said Cpl. Peter DeVries.
“The man came to North Vancouver RCMP’s attention yesterday when he called the North Vancouver Hotel posing as a sprinkler maintenance man. He convinced a hotel guest to activate the sprinkler, causing thousands of dollars in water damage to a guest room. The prankster succeeded in convincing a second guest at the hotel to do the same thing late last night, despite the previously issued police warning.
“Overnight, he also called a number of chain restaurants on the North Shore, including Mcdonald’s, A&W, and Denny’s. The Mcdonald’s restaurant on Marine Dr. at Pemberton Rd. suffered major water damage after its sprinkler system activated, and the foam fire suppressant system in the kitchen at A&W on Marine Dr. spread fire retardant foam all over the kitchen equipment. The fire Department also responded to a fire alarm activation at the Subway on Marine Dr.,” said DeVries.
Officers from the North Vancouver RCMP continue to investigate, and to trace the source of the calls, which are believed to have come from the US. The perpetrator of the phone calls potentially faces multiple and mounting charges of mischief to property and public mischief, the punishment for which can include up to 10 years in prison.
“As the cost of the damages and the number of incidents mounts, so do the potential consequences not only for businesses but also for the person responsible,” said DeVries, spokesperson for the North Vancouver RCMP. “With the fire department responding to what amounts to false alarms, we also now have a risk to the public as a result of this individual’s criminal actions. We have a very good relationship with US authorities, in particular those close to our border, and we are confident that we will be able to apply the full weight of our collective resources to identify and prosecute the person responsible.”
However, if the person can be tracked to the U.S. and he is charged in the United States, he could face severe penalties for cross-state crimes.