A blue Peterbilt rope truck on a Trans Mountain Expansion Project site near Merritt, B.C. was the target of an act of vandalism and theft one day and the subject of a suspicious blaze another. (Contributed)

Truck destroyed in suspicious fire at Trans Mountain pipeline site near Merritt

Truck was the target of an act of vandalism and theft followed by a suspicious blaze a few days later

The RCMP is investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a large truck on a Trans Mountain Expansion Project site near Merritt, B.C.

The blue Peterbilt rope truck was destroyed in a blaze in the early morning hours of May 19, just one week after the same truck was targeted in an “act of mischief” and a theft of fuel earlier that weekend, according to RCMP.

The scene of the blaze was secured by Merritt RCMP for a full examination by forensic specialists and fire investigators with the RCMP Southeast District General Investigation Section (GIS).

“RCMP has since learned that there were individuals camping over the weekend in the immediate area of the impacted vehicle. GIS investigators are seeking to identify those campers, as they may hold key information,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

The RCMP is asking motorists who may have travelled through the area of Highway 5A and Tillery Road, outside of Merritt on the evening of May 18 into the early morning hours of May 19, to review their dash camera footage and contact police.

At this stage of the investigation it is unknown whether the acts were targeted in nature or simply crimes of opportunity, said O’Donaghey.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262 or the RCMP Southeast District GIS team at 250-869-2215, or remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

READ MORE: Virtual route hearings set for Trans Mountain pipeline

READ MORE: Trans Mountain expansion gets green light – again

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michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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