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Coquitlam bear spray investigation continues to garner tips: RCMP

Few details are known, but RCMP confirm they're looking for the suspects involved in the Aug. 2 incident.
Coquitlam RCMP are investigating a bear spray incident involving several youth at a basketball court on Alderson Avenue that took place Aug. 2, 2022. | Glacier Media

Police say tips are still coming in more than a week after a youth-involved bear-spray incident in Coquitlam.

And a video that went viral on social media recently is believed to have shown the incident.

When asked by the Tri-City News, Coquitlam RCMP spokesperson Const. Deanna Law could not provide many details as the investigation is ongoing.

She confirms the spraying took place around 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 on 500-block Alderson Avenue, allegedly at a basketball court in Lower Lougheed Park.

Law explains, as this situation includes youth, information pertaining to the case can't be made public at this point under the Privacy Act and Youth Criminal Justice Act.

"We continue to receive tips about the investigation, which will hopefully lead to the suspects being identified," she said.

Anyone with more information on the Alderson Avenue or other bear-spray incidents in the region is encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.

The Tri-Cities and sprays

It's not uncommon to hear of spraying-related incidents in the Tri-Cities — some most recently used to attack people.

In Port Moody, police are investigating an incident that involved an online marketplace exchange on May 30 when used pepper-spray to blind the seller's eyes while running off with a pair of expensive sneakers.

The brazen attack was caught on doorbell camera in the city's Pleasantside neighbourhood as the suspects were seen arriving at the victim's home, sprayed him several minutes later and took off with the shoes — reportedly Nike Air Jordans.

Back in January, also in Port Moody, bear spray was used to by a group of teens to assault liquor store employees after they were refused service.

On Jan. 5, PMPD officers were called to the establishment and said there were three "clearly underaged" youths involved that tried to buy alcohol.

One then pulled out bear mace, sprayed multiple staff and fled on foot to a nearby SkyTrain station.

They were ultimately tracked down in New Westminster.

And in Port Coquitlam, there have been at least three known incidents earlier this year where bear-spray attacks were reported from public facilities.

In July, city council voted to consider banning the sale of bear and paint spray to minors under 19 years old, unless the minor is accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Under federal law, bear spray is legal as long is it's used against animals

When it's used against a person, it's a prohibited weapon.

What is Bear Spray?

Bear spray is a bottle of liquid spray powder chemicals containing capsaicin which is designed to spray the substance approximately 10m into the direction of an approaching bear. Bear spray can be purchased at hardware stores such as Canadian Tire as well as wilderness survival stores.

To be legal in Canada, the label must clearly show that it is intended for use on animals and the package volume cannot exceed 500 ml.

How Does Bear Spray Work?

Bear spray cans shoot the substance up to 10 m and when a bear walks into the spray, the substance will irritate the eyes and skin of the bear so as to cause the bear to retreat. Bear spray is not harmful to the bear and the effect is temporary.

How is Bear Spray Used?

Bear spray is used by removing the safety tip on the can, point the nozzle away from you, and point the nozzle in the direction of the bear’s face. Use quick, one second bursts until the bear retreats and immediately leave the area. Be careful not to walk into the path of the spray.

- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News