Police released surveillance footage of a man (pictured left) setting fire to the blankets of a homeless woman (right) while she slept on a downtown sidewalk on Hamilton Street, near the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, around 4 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)

Police released surveillance footage of a man (pictured left) setting fire to the blankets of a homeless woman (right) while she slept on a downtown sidewalk on Hamilton Street, near the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, around 4 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)

Police hunt for arsonist who lit sleeping homeless woman’s blanket on fire in Vancouver

Police are looking for both the suspect and victim, urging anyone with information to come forward

WARNING: This story includes disturbing video

Vancouver police are looking for both a suspected arsonist and the victim targeted in a disturbing crime in the downtown core last month, and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

On Tuesday, police released surveillance footage of a man setting fire to a homeless woman’s blankets while she slept on a downtown sidewalk on Hamilton Street, near the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, around 4 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2020.

Video shows an unknown man walk up to the woman, pace around and then set her belongings on fire before walking away. The fire can be seen smouldering for several minutes, then spread throughout the victim’s belongings before burning her jacket and the blankets that were keeping her warm.

The victim was not who reported the incident to police, and has yet to be located. She is described to be white and in her 30s with dark, shoulder-length hair. At the time of the incident, she was wearing a grey, full-length button-up jacket.

“This was a shocking attack that targeted a vulnerable member of our community, and we hope the public can help solve this crime,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in a statement.

“Fortunately, the victim woke up just in time to put the fire out and escape serious physical injury. A few more seconds and this could have been tragic.”

The suspect is described as white, 35 to 50 years old, and between five feet five inches to five feet 10 inches tall. He was wearing a unique black and white Oakland Raiders jacket at the time of the crime.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact investigators at 604-717-2541 or to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-669-847.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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