Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

24 hours

My Work Experience at 24 hours

Balconies (50-55 words)

Crazy about a Subaru

Someone has a preference for Subarus as RCMP are reporting between one to three vehicles have been stolen each month in North Vancouver since January and abandoned each time near Kingsway and Edmonds in Burnaby. “It’s unusual to see a pattern from a criminal to be that established,” said RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong. He noted the thieves may have a knack for getting into the cars, all late 1990s to early 2000s models. Anyone with information can call 604-969-7510 or 1-800-222-8477.

Man in dress sexually assaults woman

North Vancouver RCMP is searching for a man following a sexual assault early Thursday. The man, clad in a white floral dress, forcibly kissed a 23-year-old woman on the cheek in the 2300 block of Lonsdale Avenue at about 2 a.m. He is described as white, average size, about 30 with light brown hair. Anyone with information can call 604-985-1311.

Briefs (75-100 words)

Family medals returned

Paul Jackson of Parksville has been reunited with his grandfather’s stolen war medals that have been missing for 40 years. On Nov. 16, Surrey RCMP held a ceremony to return the medals to the lone grandchild of Arthur Bird, a WWII veteran, two years after they were found. The medals turned up in July 2009 in an unrelated investigation, but police couldn’t locate the rightful owner until earlier this month. A New Brunswick medal historian from the Royal Canadian Legion determined they belonged to Jackson’s grandfather. Jackson was unaware the medals still existed and that they were stolen.

Short Features (150-400 words)

BBB warns of ticket scams

The Grey Cup is the hottest ticket in town for football fans and ticket scammers alike.

The Better Business Bureau is warning those looking for tickets to watch out for counterfeits, both online and from scalpers, when buying seats to Sunday’s sold-out game.

“It is crunch time for scammers to get up to their usual tricks with counterfeit or bogus tickets,” BBB president and CEO Lynda Pasacreta said in a release Thursday.

Scalpers have been asking from $350 to $1,600 a seat.

Kingsley Bailey, a Vancouver Ticket Services broker, said less than 1,000 tickets were available for resale, but added scammers could counterfeit “as many as they can print.”

“If you’re looking for a deal and it’s too good to be true, just don’t buy it.”

He added scammers could sell legitimate tickets, report them as lost, get them reprinted and repeat the process, voiding previously sold tickets.

“If they can make money, they’re going to keep printing them.”

The BBB cautions buyers to choose reputable brokers, be wary of bargains and to never wire money to someone you don’t know.

Alleged gunman in custody

A 17-year-old male suspect was taken into custody in connection to a security lockdown at Langley Secondary School on Tuesday, RCMP said. A replica handgun was recovered.

RCMP could not say whether the teenager attended the school nor could they confirm he was known to police.

“He is of student age, but we don’t know if he is a student,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks.

Police received two separate tips from locals about a gunman entering the school and quickly executed a lockdown late Tuesday morning. By 2:00 p.m., classes had resumed.

As part of the lockdown, the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team arrived on scene to conduct a thorough search of the school. Langley RCMP had more than 20 unites in the area to contain the scene and complete the investigation. A helicopter and BC Ambulance Service were standing by.

A staging area was also established at Twin Rinks on the Langley Bypass for parents wishing to be closer to the school.

Langley teacher charged

Deborah Ralph, a 57-year-old Langley School District teacher, was charged with one count of sexual assault and another of sexual interference Thursday, RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke said.

The charges stem from incidents that occurred between December 1998 and June 2001. A victim reported her to police Nov. 8 and she was arrested the following day.

Ralph taught at James Kennedy Elementary School from September 1987 to June 2010. She started teaching at Langley Fundamental Elementary School in September 2010 until she was removed from her duties after the RCMP expressed concerns to the district.

Cpl. Holly Marks wouldn’t address anything that might identify the victim, but indicated Ralph had no criminal record.

Langley Fundamental Elementary’s website lists a Mrs. Debbie Ralph as a Grade 3 teacher. The district wouldn’t say if her teaching license was suspended.

She is prohibited from contacting the victim, former students who gave information or anyone under 16.

Crown approves 61 riot charges

A beauty pageant contestant and a young man who apologized on TV for taking makeup were among 25 people named by police Wednesday, as the first wave of charges were officially laid some five months after June’s Stanley Cup riot.

More than two dozen men and women, aged 17 to 33, collectively face 61 charges.

“We are very encouraged by the approval of these 61 charges and we will continue to work closely with the special prosecution team as even more charges are expected in the coming days and weeks,” said Insp. Les Yeo, adding reports for each case were more than 500 pages long.

Police have said the case will bring the largest number of charges from a single incident in Canadian history.

Each of the 25 is charged with one count of participating in a riot. All will face at least one other count of arson, assault, break and enter, mischief or theft.

The suspects come from Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and even Seattle.

Richmond’s Sophie LaBoissonnière, 20, is charged with one count of participating in a riot and one count of break and enter.

“There was no one to blame but myself,” she told 24 hours when contacted Wednesday.

A girl of the same name wrote on a blog about winning the Miss Congeniality title at a local pageant. Other posts also documented her participation in the Miss B.C. pageant. However, LaBoissonnière hung up after being asked if she was the pageant contestant.

Vancouver’s Robert Snelgrove, who is also charged with one count of break and enter, spoke with 24 hours only days after the riot to apologize for his actions that night. The 25-year-old came forward after footage of him carrying goods from a store appeared on TV.

“I don’t want to be seen as a coward,” said Snelgrove in June. “I’m not going to defend myself. It was a mistake.”

The Integrated Riot Investigation Team said it is “in the midst of finalizing the next batch of charges to be forwarded to Crown in the coming weeks.”

The first round of 163 recommended charges against 60 individuals was announced Oct. 31.

VPD’s Riot Round-up reels in two more

Two more people are charged in connection with the Stanley Cup riot, including a man who posted on his Facebook site that he’d been ordered to take anger management classes.

Ryan Dickinson, 20, of Coquitlam is charged with participating in a riot and mischief over $5,000, in addition to breaching conditions of his release on other unrelated charges.

According to court records, Dickinson is already before the courts on charges of aggravated assault and robbery that date back to September 2010.

He can be seen in a photo posted on a public shaming site throwing a nespaper box into a smashed vehicle.

John Sawicki, 19, of Surrey is also charged in connection with the riot.

The pair is among 27 suspects formally charged, most of whom have turned themselves in or have been arrested.

Riot investigators announced Wednesday they’ve teamed with the VPD’s fugitive task force to find and arrest more riot suspects.

“We won’t be backing off this investigation and neither will the public,” said Insp. Les Yeo, the Integrated Riot Investigation Team’s top cop.

According to police, the fugitive task force was brought in to “assist with arrests of those hard-to-find individuals who think they can evade charges.”

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