Man suspected of looting in flood-stricken Sumas Prairie arrested, police say

Abbotsford police provided this photo of the arrest with their news release.

Police in Abbotsford say they have arrested a 29-year-old Chilliwack man who is suspected of breaking into several buildings in the Sumas Prairie area, where residents are still working to put their lives back together after November’s devastating floods.

Andrew Charpentier has been charged with four counts of breaking and entering and remains in police custody, according to a news release from the Abbotsford Police Department Thursday.

Police said the break-ins of which Charpentier is accused happened “in the middle of December.”

“Several residents were in the process of dealing with the impact that the flood had on them, their families, and their farms when an unknown person victimized them,” police said in their release.

With the help of Chilliwack RCMP, officers identified Charpentier as a suspect in the incidents, according to Abbotsford police.

He was arrested Wednesday in Chilliwack by members of the Abbotsford department’s crime reduction unit, police said, adding that various items of stolen property have been returned to Sumas Prairie residents as a result of the investigation.

Wednesday’s arrest was the second related to property crime on Sumas Prairie in as many weeks. On Dec. 16, Abbotsford police said two men had been caught attempting to steal equipment from a farm in the area.

Parts of Sumas Prairie were under water for nearly a month after the Nooksack River in the United States flooded during heavy rain in mid-November. The floodwaters overwhelmed the Sumas River dike and caused the former Sumas Lake – which was drained in the early 20th century to create the prairie – to reform.

Thousands of farm animals died in the floods, and Abbotsford’s mayor estimated the city had sustained more than $1 billion in damage.

Source: CTV News