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

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Nanaimo area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo councillors like new sustainable buying policy

Finance and audit committee recommends council approve new procurement policy

Action at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo sports organizations qualify for COVID-19 relief funding

Province announces support for curling, rowing, gymastics, softball, rugby, squash, football clubs

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read