A rose-colored promotional poster of Anne Murray lay scorched and curled last week on the floor of a partly burned-out bank as grimy evidence of an increasingly alarming wave of Vancouver fire bombings.
In this, the 15th incident since October, the back window of a Bank of Commerce branch on Vancouver's Main Street was first shattered with a rock and then a clumsily constructed Molotov cocktail was hurled in. As in most of the fiery attempts, which have been directed at restaurants, drugstores and seven banks, damage was negligible and the bank opened in three days, but Vancouver authorities fear the Molotov Bomber is revving up. The Commerce attack was the fifth fire bombing in three days. Vancouver police last week dedared nabbing the bomber their No. 1 crime priority and beefed up a special bomber task force to an estimated 14 police and fire department investigators. The hunt was given added urgency the day before the Commerce inferno when two gasoline-filled bottles were hurled through windows of a house containing seven sleeping people who were saved only by the fast action of a passerby. Investigators fear that bombing, the first to endanger lives, is the result of a copycat arsonist. Tight-lipped Vancouver police cautiously link only seven of the attacks to the original bomber and have begun to
speculate, since most of them have been directed against banks and government offices, about a radical conspiracy. "Based on current information,” says a grim-faced inspector Vic Lake, “we are now looking at a group or groups.” Scrawlings on the sides of a Royal Bank branch gutted in January (ONE STOP, NO DEPOSIT, URBAN RE-
VISION) have fanned the speculation.
By week's end the fiery total had jumped to 17, but police dragnets had also begun to function On Saturday morning Vancouver cops detained two young suspects after a witness reported two men lofting a Molotov cocktail through a bank window. Edgy authorities hoped the action will supply a final, negative answer to The Vancouver Express's question, WHO’S NEXT?
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