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Police investigate possible 'swatting' after threats at Port Moody elementary school and Burnaby mall

Incident at Seaview elementary school and Metropolis at Metrotown may be linked, police say, as bomb scare and shooting threats prove to be unfounded

Port Moody Police Department is working with Burnaby RCMP on possible links to cases of swatting that led to multiple evacuations across the two cities.

In Port Moody, at around 3:20 p.m. PMPD officers were called to the scene of a bomb threat at Seaview elementary school.

Class was not in session but there were several user groups and staff still on the site.

PMPD members evacuated the building and searched the school with the assistance of the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service.

However, it was later determined that the threat was unfounded, stated Const. Sam Zacharias, community and media relations officer, in a press release.

"At this time, we believe this incident to be a prank, often referred to as swatting," Zacharias further stated.

A short time later, PMPD members identified a youth suspect in relation to the incident.

The suspect was arrested for public mischief without incident and subsequently released while the investigation continues.

In Burnaby, at about 3 p.m., police were called to assist Transit Police with an incident at the Metrotown SkyTrain Station, which required closure of the major transit hub. 

Then Burnaby RCMP received a report about someone with a gun, and shots being fired.

After a grid search, Burnaby RCMP determined that the Metrotown threat was unfounded.

The Metropolis mall was given the all-clear around 6:30 p.m. However, the mall was closed for the evening, Burnaby RCMP said in a statement.

Investigators from both police departments are working together to determine if there are links between the cases, and whether the same suspect may be responsible.

Similar to the Port Moody incident, the bogus threat at Metrotown is being investigated as a case of "swatting," which is a criminal offence in Canada.

These kind of threats take a lot of police resources and are stressful for the public, the Burnaby RCMP said in a press release.

"As we saw today, these unfounded reports prompt a large response from first responders, who must take these incidents seriously to protect the public," noted Burnaby RCMP's Cpl. Mike Kalanj.

"We will be working closely with our policing partners, including Port Moody Police and Transit Police, on the investigation," Kalanj added.

Similarly, PMPD Zacharias confirmed that the Moody police department would be working with its police partners to "determine if these incidents are related."