Accused rioters turn themselves in to police
Published Friday, June 17, 2011 4:26PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:06AM PDT
Six people have turned themselves in to police in connection with the post-Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, including a teen who was hauled in by his family after they saw incriminating photos of him circulating on the internet.
As many as 50 downtown businesses suffered millions of dollars in damage after packs of roving rioters smashed windows and looted stores following the Vancouver Canucks' Game 7 loss on Wednesday night. Close to 150 people were treated in hospital for various injuries.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said the department has already requested charge approval against a man accused of arson to property, mischief and unlawful assembly.
He told reporters at a press conference that the force would "vigorously pursue those lawbreakers" who smashed windows, lit fires and looted stores during the mayhem.
In Burnaby, family members marched a 17-year-old boy into the RCMP detachment after seeing images of him allegedly looting during the Game 7 riot.
Police are recommending charges in connection to the theft of merchandise at a Louis Vuitton store and the destruction of a police car that was flipped over and set on fire.
He is scheduled to appear in court in August for charges of break and enter and mischief to property over $5,000.
The RCMP commended the young man for taking responsibility for his actions, and encouraged others to do the same.
VPD Const. Jana McGuinness said having the accused turn themselves in greatly speeds up the police probe.
"Make no mistake, we will find you," she said.
Crush of information
Police say they have received so many tips from the public to identify the rioters that their computer server crashed yesterday. It's now back up and running.
The VPD has received more than 1,800 tips and thousands of images from cell phones and cameras in the last two days.
McGuinness said that while social media is assisting the investigation it also makes things more complicated because officers have to wade through such a large volume of material.
"Every one of those has to be an independent investigation," she told reporters on Friday. "It's a long way from receiving a photo to laying a charge."
Several groups on the social networking website Facebook, including "Vancouver Riot Pics: Post Your Photos," are also helping citizens identify those people responsible for the post-Cup destruction in Vancouver.
Related: Do you know these rioters?
While the police have said the violence was caused by a small contingent of "criminals, anarchists and thugs," many accused rioters are being recognized and outed by friends and acquaintances online.
One of the most widely read incriminating posts circulating online was apparently posted by a man named Brock Anton, who wrote, "Maced in the face, hit with a Batton [sic], tear gassed twice… punched a f---ken pif in the head with riot gear on knocked him to the ground, through [sic] the jersey on a burning cop car, flipped some cars, burnt some smart cars, burnt some cop cars, I'm on the news… One word… History."
Another person named Ashley Pehota wrote, "Brockkkk! take this down!!! its evidence! [sic throughout]"
Another person identified online for his disgraceful actions is a promising young water polo player.
The blog publicshamingeternus.wordpress.com posted a photo of the boy stuffing a burning rag into the gas tank of a police cruiser in a parking lot downtown. Wearing a Canucks jersey and a backpack, the young man is cheered on by hundreds of onlookers.
A Facebook page devoted to shaming his actions has almost 1,000 members.
Chu and the Vancouver police have come under a hailstorm of criticism from citizens who don't believe they acted quickly or strongly enough against rioters.
Chu defended his department's preparations for the final game, but he admits that mistakes were made in hindsight.
"Knowing what I know now there are many things I would have done differently," he told reporters.
A unit consisting of officers from Metro Vancouver police detachments, as well as RCMP members, has been tasked with investigating the riot.
Premier Christy Clark announced Friday that the Criminal Justice Branch has assigned a team of Crown prosecutors to focus on approving charges connected to the riots.