Update: Aug. 15, 2013
No arrests have been made in connection with the ongoing investigation into a car bomb that exploded Sunday morning in Oliver.
“We are being meticulous in the investigation of a complicated file,” RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said Thursday.
“As this file progresses, any information which is deemed releaseable, or which will not hamper the investigation, will be provided to the public.”
The bomb damaged the rear end of a car under which it was placed and sent shrapnel into two garages in a residential area of Earle Crescent.
Although the explosion went off around 2 a.m. Sunday, it wasn’t reported to police until Monday morning. The RCMP sent a bomb disposal unit from the Lower Mainland to assist with the investigation.
Investigators descended Monday on a quiet Oliver neighbourhood where a weekend bomb blast damaged a car and sent shrapnel through nearby garages.
The blast went off early Sunday morning, although the incident wasn’t reported to police until a day later. The B.C. RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit was then called in to assist local investigators.
Mounties said in a press release that an “improvised explosive device” appeared to have been placed under a vehicle that was parked behind a home on the 600 block of Earle Crescent. The car sustained “significant damage” to its rear wheels and undercarriage as a result of the blast.
A chunk of metal from the explosion also “appeared to have been projected” through an exterior wall of a nearby garage in which it came to rest, the release added. A second garage in the area was hit with a piece of shrapnel that had “sufficient velocity so as to exit the other side.”
“The damage appears to be consistent with an explosion of some significance going off under the vehicle,” said RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen.
“The motive for this explosion and who may be responsible is not clear at his stage of the investigation.”
Vanessa Lameiras, 18, lives beside the home where the explosion went off and said while she didn’t hear the blast, her mother awoke to a loud noise around 2 a.m. Sunday that she thought was thunder.
Lameiras said she walked home from friend Aleesha Cooper’s nearby house about two hours before the incident and heard what sounded like a group of people near the bomb site.
Cooper, also 18, said Mounties canvassed the neighbourhood Monday afternoon and asked is she’d seen the group of people Lameiras had reported.
“They actually seemed very calm,” Cooper said of the local police who appeared at her door. Officers were still combing over the bomb site Tuesday.
Cooper believes a woman and her grandson live at the home that appeared to have been targeted by the explosive device.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes described Earle Crescent as “a quiet residential neighbourhood” about two blocks from the town’s downtown core, and said he was shocked to learn of the incident, about which he’s been told very little.
“I know as much as what’s in that press release,” Hovanes said.
He noted it would be “really premature” to speculate about who might have been involved, although word of the blast spread quickly in the community.
“I’m just glad (police) put out a press release because there’s been a lot of talk,” Hovanes said.
“I’m very interested in the motive,” he added, and “I’m thrilled that no one got hurt.”
In March 2012, a pipe bomb exploded in a newspaper box in downtown Summerland. The blast damaged a wall of the building closest to the explosion and deposited debris as much as 100 metres away.
Summerland RCMP Sgt. Stephane Lacroix said the file is now closed because investigators didn’t have enough evidence to recommend charges.
“We’re pretty confident about the individuals who we identified,” he said, “but couldn’t go forward.”
Lacroix also said it’s too early to tell if there’s a link between the blast in Summerland and the more recent explosion in Oliver.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Oliver RCMP at 250-498-3422 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS).