A police vehicle that was in for repairs at a local mechanic shop was set ablaze in an apparent act of vandalism in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The vehicle — a marked Chevy Tahoe — was parked in the compound of Cranbrook Auto Repair awaiting work to be done later in the day.
RCMP are investigating the incident.
“This is most definitely a targeted arson against the local police,” said Staff Sgt. Dave Dubnyk. “The unfortunate part is this isn’t just an attack against the police but affects local residents as vehicles and other police assets are purchased with public funds.”
Ryan Johnson, co-owner of Cranbrook Auto Repair, said they were informed of the burning vehicle at their business at around 2 a.m. by Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services.
When they arrived, the truck was still on fire and crews were working to extinguish it. The fence at the opposite side of the compound had also been cut as an apparent entry way.
Johnson agreed the police vehicle was targeted.
“Nothing else in the yard was even touched or opened,” he said. “No damage to anything else.”
Johnson noted that a laptop secured in the vehicle was taken.
“Whoever stole it spent some time in there getting the bracket and everything apart to get it out,” he said.
The fire department had to cut the lock on the gate to enter the compound and put out the fire.
Johnson said that thankfully this is the first time anything like this has happened at the business.
He said that while the police are out a vehicle for the time being, it was also not a good day for the shop. The vandalism will likely also be paid for through the shop’s insurance.
“Technically as soon as a vehicle becomes worked on, our insurance starts to cover it,” he said.
“We had over $1,000 worth of work to be done on the vehicle this morning, so that’s out of our pockets now, and then potentially it might raise our insurance rates quite high — not to mention bad publicity.”
Police are following up on leads and encourage anyone with information to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).