Tips flowing on pipeline bombings after EnCana reward offered
By Jamie Hall
EDMONTON — Police have received more than a dozen tips since EnCana’s offer Tuesday of a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the pipeline bomber near Dawson Creek, B.C.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields said of as 5 p.m. Tuesday, 11 phone calls were logged through its dedicated tip line — 1-866-994-7473 — “and there have been more today but I know don’t exactly how many.”
The reward was called an “act of desperation” by terrorism expert Paul Joosee, who pointed to a lengthy investigation by police which has netted few solid leads and no prime suspect.
Since mid-October, a total of four explosions targeted EnCana’s sour gas operations in northeastern B.C., the most recent on Jan. 4 when a bomb blew apart a wall of a shed housing a sour-gas pipe.
Police say although no one has been injured yet, each successive bombing is getting closer to populated areas around the Tomslake community, prompting investigators to label the attacks “increasingly violent.”
Shields said police are also increasingly frustrated by the continued lack of co-operation shown by the “persons of interest” first identified during a press conference in early December.
Shields said the “small group” of individuals — he declined to say how many there are — either won’t talk to police at all anymore or, if they are still talking, “won’t talk about what we want to talk about.”
“They know who they are,” said Shields.
He stressed that they are not only hindering the overall investigation, but are stopping police from eliminating them as suspects once and for all.
“It’s proving to be difficult because we recognize the vast majority of people who have surfaced during the course of the investigation are going to be innocent, and our goal is to clear these people and eliminate them as quickly as possible,” said Shields.
“So, since we have a group of ‘persons of interest,’ we know that we want to be able to clear them, so, please, help us clear you.”
Shields characterized at least some of the tips received so far as being "very low quality,” but investigators are hopeful more substantive information will soon be forthcoming.
“We’re continuing to process all information, and all leads,” said Shields.
“It’s been a long and intense investigation, but we are still moving forward.”
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