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No link between recent graffiti and vandalism of Chili Thom mural: RCMP

Police Briefs: Bike thief sought; smokers warned to butt out


VANDALIZED A public mural by late Whistler artist Chili Thom that was recently vandalized. - FACEBOOK PHOTO
  • Facebook photo
  • VANDALIZED A public mural by late Whistler artist Chili Thom that was recently vandalized.

Local police say there likely isn’t a link between a recent string of graffiti that has hit the resort and the vandalism of a mural by beloved Whistler artist Chili Thom.

"There appears to be no correlation between the graffiti from this file and any other ones,” said Const. Erik Jakobsen in an email.

Last week it was discovered that a public mural near Lost Lake by the late Thom and fellow artist Stan Matwychuk had been covered over by a pair of tags, sparking outrage in the community.

“If you are unfamiliar with the history, just (G)oogle the artist Chili Thom to understand how big a role he played in making this place what it is,” wrote local DJ Ace Mackay-Smth on social media after the vandalism came to light, addressing the tagger directly. “And when you mess with an artist's artwork and he is no longer on this planet to fix it, you are really turning yourself into a serious douche.”

Jakobsen, who has collected photos of graffiti over the past six months, said the pattern of vandalism seems to indicate that residents aren’t responsible for the bulk of the tags that have popped up throughout the resort.

“Most of the graffiti that we have in this community appears to be done by people who are passing through (like visitors and or transient workers),” he said.

Police noted that, typically, a tag will appear for a short period, and then won’t be seen again, leading investigators to suspect that transients are responsible for the vandalism, although it’s of course possible that suspects are simply switching up their tags.

Thom was a beloved figure of Whistler’s arts scene, and his death from cancer in November 2016 rocked the community.

“This is really personal to a lot of people, and that unwritten rule is you don’t tag a beautiful mural with someone else’s art, especially one with such a legacy in the community,” said DJ and long-time Whistlerite Paul Fournier.

A screenshot from security footage of a suspect linked to the recent theft of a pricey mountain bike from the village. - IMAGE COURTESY OF WHISTLER RCMP
  • Image courtesy of Whistler RCMP
  • A screenshot from security footage of a suspect linked to the recent theft of a pricey mountain bike from the village.

Police still looking to identify bike theft suspect

Whistler RCMP is once again asking the public for help identifying a man linked to the theft of a high-end bike from the village last month.

Shortly after midnight on July 27, police said mountain bike was stolen from Skier’s Plaza. A lock securing the $7,000 bike was reportedly cut with bolt cutters.

Security footage captured the male suspect, described as 5-10 tall with a slim build, and wearing a blue hat and black shorts.

The bike is a red and black men’s Giant Glory model.

Anyone with information on the incident or the suspect is asked to contact the Whistler RCMP detachment at 604-932-3044 or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

RCMP reminds public to butt out following complaints

Local police are reminding the public of the risk of wildfire after receiving several complaints of drivers tossing lit cigarettes out their car window in the past week.

“Littering cigarette butts in extremely dry weather conditions can lead to the start of a fire,” said Cpl. Diane Blain in a release. “If one of these cigarette butts were to be the cause of a fire, the perpetrator could face some serious charges.”

Littering of any kind is also an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act, and carries a fine of $115.

Under Whistler’s current extreme fire danger rating, all smoking and campfires have been banned from local parks. The Resort Municipality of Whistler said bylaw officers were patrolling areas “known for smoking” throughout the BC Day long weekend, according to a release. The fine for discarding a cigarette during an extreme fire rating is $300, with a possible maximum penalty of $10,000.

Blain urged drivers to make use of the ashtrays in their vehicle when butting out, or, if their vehicle isn’t equipped with one, to keep a portable ashtray “with a cap or an airtight container” to dispose of cigarettes.

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