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

Mackenzie Cox representing the first Black Shirt Day at North Island Secondary. (Zoe Ducklow Photo)
Port McNeill Grade 12 student observes Black Shirt Day for anti-racism

‘Wearing that colour T-shirt for that day is a commitment to show that we care.’

Port McNeill council file photo. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port McNeill council approves utility fees increase

The fees cover the three major services the town provides; water, solid waste and sewage.

Black Press media file
RCMP catch alleged drunk driver

The driver provided breathalyzer samples in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages, shown in a handout photo, due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Food Inspection Agency Mandatory Credit
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Customers are advised to throw away or return the product

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read