By Jeff Sanford
Penticton, British Columbia -- September 21, 2015 -- A year after an arson at a Penticton collision facility, the RCMP are issuing another plea for help solving the case. On October 3rd, 2014, the local fire department received a call about the fire at 5:00 a.m.
Trucks responded and arrived at the shop to find smoke billowing out of the Boyd Autobody & Glass location. One of the cars in the shop was completely destroyed. Several other vehicles inside suffered smoke damage.
The owner of the shop, Methal Abougoush, says he “wasn’t shocked when he got the call” about the fire. The shop suffered what a local news report called a series of “escalating criminal attacks” incidents earlier in the week. The incidents seemed to have targeted the car that was destroyed.
According to local press reports from a year ago, the attacks started when someone cut through a back fence, broke a window and threw flammable materials on the floor of the shop near the car. The attackers lit fireworks inside the building “in an apparent attempt to ignite the cans” according to the press report. On Wednesday of that week a window was smashed, as the attackers returned. The operations manager of the shop, Ryan Wuthe, said the attackers didn’t see this certain car as it was in the paint bay.
The attackers returned Friday to finish the job. Video surveillance cameras later showed two suspects breaking into the shop and starting the fire that completely destroyed the vehicle in question.
"It was a targeted attack for sure," Wuth said to the local Penticton paper at the time. "The video surveillance shows two people breaking in through the front door and going straight to that car and lighting it on fire."
There were ten other vehicles in the shop at the time. The arsonists passed eight of them to get to the car that was torched.
"The car was already in for a vandalism claim," Wuthe was quoted as saying. "Someone had thrown rocks at it and kicked the car."
Since then the case has remained unsolved. A year later Penticton RCMP have issued a plea for anyone with information to step forward. The owner of the torched vehicle is known to police. Anyone with new information about the arson to contact Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.