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North Van RCMP seek suspect in porta-potty fires

A man was spotted exiting the porta potty shortly before one of the fires was reported. Police are investigating both fires as suspected arson.

Usually, the expression about lighting a fire under your butt isn’t meant literally.

But in other cases, apparently it is.

North Vancouver RCMP are looking for public help to identify a suspect they believe has been deliberately setting fire to porta-potties in the area.

The suspect is alleged to have set one porta-potty on fire on March 13 at around 8:30 a.m. near 2100 block of Hamilton Ave in North Vancouver. A witness observed the suspect leaving the porta-potty just before it caught fire, according to police.

A few days later, on March 20 at 2:44 a.m. police and firefighters were called to a porta-potty also set on fire in the 1900 block of Jones Ave in North Vancouver. No suspects were seen at that location, but police believe the two incidents are related.

The suspect in the March 13 arson is described as a Caucasian man, about 5-9 tall, 180-220 pounds, wearing a tan jacket, green and black camouflage pants and a baseball cap with a red backpack.

To further the investigation, North Vancouver RCMP are releasing a composite sketch of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call the North Vancouver RCMP at 985-1311, quoting file 23-4854.

Another set of portable toilets went up in flames on the evening of March 19 in West Vancouver, near the east parking lot behind the Ambleside soccer fields. According to municipal staff, West Vancouver Fire Department put out the blaze and followed up with an investigation the next day.

Once given the go-ahead from the fire department, the site will be cleaned up, the fence rebuilt and new porta-potties installed, staff said. West Vancouver police didn’t respond to a request for comment. It’s not publicly known if the fire is related to the North Vancouver incidents.