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Rumours of bombs and VPD with assault rifles surround my storage locker

August 24, 2016
An assault rifle-toting VPD officer guards my locker at Guardian Storage.

An assault rifle-toting VPD officer guards my locker at Guardian Storage.

I’ve known something was potentially up with my storage locker since late Tuesday afternoon, when a binner told me that Vancouver Police had cordoned-off the alley-side entrance to the East Vancouver building where my locker is located. I immediately emailed the storage locker company but no reply was forthcoming.

So at 11:10 a.m. today (August 24) I found myself standing on one side of a yellow caution tape barrier and yelling at a Vancouver Police officer who was standing on the other side and cradling a rather dangerous-looking assault rifle.

The officer yelled back that no, he couldn’t say what was happening with my storage locker. A media release would be issued soon, he shouted at me politely.

The place where I was standing was in the alley on the north side of the 100 block of 7th Avenue. The caution tape I was pressed up against was blocking off the alley-side parkade entrance to Guardian Storage, where I’ve had a locker since 2004.

When will I be able to use my storage locker?

Playing hide and seek with a VPD officer on the east side of the poilice cordon.

Playing hide and seek with a VPD officer on the east side of the police cordon.

I was standing on the east side of the cordon. Just off to my right, a lone camera person was sitting in an unmarked tan-coloured vehicle. His video camera was all set up and pointed toward the cordon. Apparently both the camera person and his camera were waiting for something newsworthy to happen.

As far as this one-man camera crew understood, a suspicious package had been found in the “underground” and police were investigating. He couldn’t say if the suspicious package had been found inside or outside the building.

I decided to ride around the block and try my luck from the other side of the cordoned-off alley. From my current vantage point I was having trouble photographing the two police officers standing guard at the entrance to Guardian Storage’s covered parkade.

Every time the officers saw that I was about to take a photograph, they both tried to duck behind their cruiser, or a wooden utility pole, or one of the parkade’s concrete pillars. It really seemed as though they didn’t want to be photographed with their military-style weapons.

The camera person agreed with me about that but said the officers were just doing what they were told.

The view from the west side of the police cordon.

The view from the west side of the police cordon.

At the other end of the alley I had no better luck with photos but I did, at least, find a CTV News camera truck with three occupants—two guys who looked like techs and a very nicely powdered and lipsticked woman whom I took to be a reporter.

As far as she knew, bomb-related material had either been found inside—or was suspected of being inside—a storage locker. She added that police had received a 911 call on Tuesday, August 23, to this effect and that they had, at some point, already sent a bomb squad robot into the building.

And she agreed that the officers on site were a little skittish about being observed. She pointed to the fact that she and her crew had been made to stay behind, not just the yellow caution tape barrier, but another few metres farther away, behind a line of orange traffic cones.

In answer to my original question—not anytime soon

According to the promised VPD media release which finally has appeared, “Vancouver Police are continuing to investigate after explosives were found inside a Vancouver storage locker”.

“Around 11:30 yesterday morning, officers attended a storage facility at West 7th Avenue and Manitoba after someone reported what they believed were explosives inside a storage locker.The VPD’s Police explosive technicians were called in, who examined the contents of the storage locker. Out of an abundance of caution, the storage facility and associated residential and commercial units were evacuated.

Following the evacuation, explosive technicians disabled the suspected explosive devices and turned the scene over to detectives from the Vancouver Police Major Crime Section.

The investigation into how the explosives ended up at the storage facility remains ongoing.”

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