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

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Nedeea Siwallace and her partner, Carlos Andy, with their children Shakira 14, Dre 10, and Tamacia 4 (photo submitted)
Local family shares their experience of COVID-19

Nedeea Siwallace and her partner decided that being honest was the best way to keep everyone safe

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Active COVID cases drop to four; schools re-open for face-to-face instruction

A total of 63 cases were recorded with 59 now out of isolation

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Joyce Cooper (left) said she had to set an example for Tsilhqot’in communities by sharing her COVID-19 positive results. (Photo submitted)
Tsideldel off-reserve member documents experience of COVID-19

We should all be supporting one another and not judging each other, says Joyce Cooper

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple accused of flying to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine to appear in court

If convicted, the pair could serve up to six months in jail

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Vancouver Island woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny rescue operation

Amy McLaughlin has rescued more than 400 bunnies, pushing for the capacity to help more

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Most Read