Surrey RCMP release image of female suspect after another B.C. church burns down

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      Another church in B.C. has been destroyed by fire and investigators have released an image of a female suspect.

      Around 3:17 a.m. today (July 19), the Surrey Fire Service contacted Surrey RCMP about a fire at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in 13900 block of 108th Street in the Whalley area of Surrey.

      No injuries have been reported, but the fire destroyed the church.

      Although Surrey RCMP and the Surrey Fire Service are seeking to determine the cause of the fire, investigators have to wait for the debris to cool before they can proceed further.

      The fire is being regarded as suspicious, according to Surrey RCMP.

      The church had been targeted by a previous arson attempt on July 14, in which a door was damaged.

      A female suspect was captured on surveillance video lighting items on fire at the door of the church before she left the area.

      The suspect is described as a white woman who is 170 centimetres (five-feet, seven-inches) tall with a heavy-set build and dark hair. She had been wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black tank top, black tights with a flower print, and black flip flops.

      Surrey RCMP note that there currently isn’t any evidence linking these two incidents, which are being investigated separately.

      Anyone with information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. 

      Over the past month, several other churches have been vandalized or burned down in Vancouver, Prince George, Tofino, Calgary, Yellowknife, and more. The fires have occurred in the wake of the disturbing confirmations of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in B.C.—including Kamloops, Cranbook, and Penelakut Island—and several other provinces. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.