Whistler RCMP are pleading with the public to refrain from drinking while floating down the River of Golden Dreams after weekend spot checks resulted in large quantities of alcohol being confiscated.
During vessel checks done in conjunction with RMOW bylaw services between Thursday and Monday (July 12 to 16), police seized and destroyed nearly 350 cans or bottles of liquor while a handful of bylaw infraction tickets were issued, said Sgt. Rob Knapton. Police had been receiving complaints from both members of the public and from tour operators about individuals drinking on the water.
Knapton said the issue is one of both public safety and the enjoyment of a waterway frequented by families and resort guests.
“We had one incident a period of time ago… where somebody overturned their boat that was significantly intoxicated and wasn’t able to get out of the river and had to be rescued by somebody else passing by,” said Knapton. “It causes me concern because the last thing we want is to have a death down there because somebody drank too much.
“The message that we want to get out there is that this is a public area,” he continued. “It’s a family place for people to go for ecotourism. Be mindful that other people are there, because the last thing people want to do is come to Whistler and see bottles and cans floating down the river.”
A 42-year-old Vancouver man was arrested Tuesday (July 17) who police say assaulted an officer who had stopped him on suspicion of shoplifting.
A local business reported the theft of a sweater on Monday and provided the RCMP with a surveillance image of the suspect, said Knapton. An officer spotted and stopped a suspect matching the description on a bicycle on Highway 99 just north of the Village around noon on Tuesday.
The man assaulted the officer and then fled into bushes near Blackcomb Way and Nancy Greene Drive, said Knapton. The suspect was arrested shortly after.
Knapton said police are trying to determine if the bike the suspect was traveling on had been stolen.
More bike thefts
Police received reports of at least another nine bikes being stolen in Whistler over the past week, bringing the total number stolen thus far in July to several dozen.
Many of the bikes were taken overnight and from various locations around the resort, said Knapton. As of Tuesday, there was no evidence indicating a link between any of the thefts, he added.
“We’re continuing to investigate them to see if we can tie any of these to crimes of opportunity or to a larger thing,” said Knapton. “We have no idea at this point.”
Mask missing after break-in
Police were advised of multiple break-and-enters over the past week, including one in which a valuable piece of First Nations art was taken from a residence.
RCMP were advised on Saturday of a break-in at a home on the 3300 block of Peak Drive that took place between July 4 to 9. The only item reported stolen was a mask carved by renowned Haida artist Ben Davidson, said Knapton.
“It’s somewhat distinctive,” said Knapton. “Anyone with information that could lead us to where it is should call us or Crimestoppers.”
Also on Saturday, police received a report of a break-and-enter at a home on Spearhead Drive that had taken place earlier in the day. Cash was reported stolen, said Knapton.
On Sunday morning around 5 a.m., police attended a Whistler Village business whose alarm was going off. Knapton said it was determined that the business had been broken into and “a quantity of cell phones” had been stolen.
Police were unable to locate a male suspect who jumped out of the bushes and grabbed for a woman’s purse as she was walking down the Valley Trail early Monday morning.
Police were advised by the complainant of the incident at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Monday, said Knapton. The owner of the purse punched the suspect in the face and the man let go of the bag and took off running.
Knapton said officers patrolled the area but couldn’t find the suspect.