Police continue the search for a suspect believed to have fled the province after allegedly causing significant damage to a Peak 2 Peak Gondola cabin in a brazen BASE jump to the Fitzsimmons Creek earlier this month.
"We don't believe he's in the province anymore," said Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair on Tuesday, Feb. 18. "We believe he's Canadian, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to locate him at some point."
The 25-year-old man was initially thought to be from out of country, but further investigation revealed he lived in Ontario and holds a B.C. driver's license, police said, although LeClair could not confirm if the suspect is a Canadian citizen.
Whistler RMCP is currently preparing documents to obtain a warrant for the man's arrest, said LeClair. RCMP can choose to release the man's identity once the warrant is issued.
On Feb. 6 officers searched the jumper's landing zone using a police dog and snowmobiles, but were unable to track down the man after an extensive search.
Whistler Blackcomb estimated the damage to the cabin's doors and locking mechanisms to be $10,000. The man is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for mischief over $5,000 as well as a lifetime mountain ban, confirmed WB.
A 23-year-old Whistler woman, originally from Ontario, was arrested Feb. 12 in connection with the incident. The female accompanied the BASE jumper in the cabin and is believed to be an accomplice to the alleged crime. She initially told police she did not know the male suspect and was travelling to Blackcomb to meet a friend, but security video footage showed the pair together in the village. The woman has been released with a promise to appear in court April 2, with police recommending charges of mischief and obstruction.
The RCMP has been criticized by some on social media for using police resources to track down a suspect that doesn't pose a threat to the public.
But, said LeClair, "what (the suspect) did was irresponsible and potentially dangerous to people."
"He caused $10,000 of damage at least, and if it was my $10,000 I'd want the police to investigate it. People are welcome to their opinions, but in policing we have a job to do and we have to do it to the best of our ability, and that includes pursuing all leads in cases."
A video titled "The McConkey" in an apparent tribute to late BASE jumper Shane McConkey was posted to YouTube Feb. 8 by someone with the username "Graham Dickinson" showing a man with a camera fixed to his helmet leaping from a gondola cabin. The WB logo is clearly visible on the cabin doors, which appear to have been pried open. The man is accompanied in the cabin by a female identified as "Kat" in the video, who is seen filming with a separate camera. Copies of the video have since gone viral, amassing hundreds of thousands of views leading to coverage from major media outlets around the world.
A second video posted Feb. 9 by a username "Graham D" shows what appears to be the same jump from a second camera. Both videos were made private within minutes of being posted on the Whistler Winter 2013/14 Facebook group last week.
BASE jumpers McConkey and Miles Daisher leaped from the Peak 2 Peak in 2008 in a jump that was sanctioned by Whistler Blackcomb to mark the gondola's opening.