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Riot suspect altered looks

Apr 22 2012

A man wanted in connection with last year's Stanley Cup playoffs riot in downtown Vancouver has been arrested in Esquimalt, where police found him despite his efforts to change his appearance.

Victoria police, acting on information supplied by the Vancouver-based Integrated Riot Investigation Team, found the 26-year-old man early Thursday morning staying on a boat in West Bay Marina. He was among those featured on a Riot Roundup poster with photos of 100 faces, designed to draw attention to riot suspects.

Victoria police Const. Mike Russell said the man changed his appearance to evade authorities, including cutting and dying his hair.

He is alleged to have damaged two police cars and a number of parked vehicles during the mayhem that followed the Vancouver Canucks' final round playoff loss to the Boston Bruins in 2011. He is also believed to have damaged metal fencing by jumping on fence panels.

The suspect was held at Victoria police headquarters while the riot team investigated. He has since been released pending the approval of charges.

Russell said several charges are possible, including participating in a riot, four counts of mischief over $5,000 - including damaging the two police cars - and one count of mischief under $5,000.

Insp. Les Yeo, commander of the riot team, said the Victoria Police Department has played an active role in tracking down suspects. That included a March 8 blitz that saw reserve constables and volunteers hanging posters around Victoria.

"The support we have had from all surrounding communities has been tremendous," Yeo said in a statement.

"It sends a clear message to rioters outside Vancouver that police departments from across the region support our efforts to hold rioters accountable for their actions on June 15."

So far, 11 suspected rioters from Vancouver Island have been identified.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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