Teens charged after 11 'Little Library' fires in Port Coquitlam
A burned book exchange box is seen in this image provided by Mounties Port Coquitlam.
CTV News Vancouver
Published Wednesday, July 17, 2019 12:48PM PDT
Victor Hugo once wrote that "to learn to read is to light a fire."
But police allege a pair of teens from Port Coquitlam recently took the expression way too literally.
In a statement, the RCMP said two males, aged 17 and 19, are both facing charges of arson causing damage to property after a series of community book exchange boxes were set on fire over the last five month.
Police said a total of 11 "Little Libraries" were set ablaze. The first fire took place on March 20 and the last happened on May 18.
"The community told us that these 11 fires were a serious concern so we assigned Coquitlam RCMP’s Arson Unit to the case," said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin. "We’ve used a lot of resources including surveillance, search warrants, production orders, and co-operation from our city partners at both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. A tip from the public put us over the top and directly led to these charges."
McLaughlin thanked members of the community for communicating with firefighters so that the fires didn't spread.
"Many of these book exchanges were located near homes and green spaces and the damage could have been worse," he said.
Mounties said the investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to contact the RCMP at 604-945-1550, ask for the arson unit and quote file number 201-9080.