After a four-year investigation, charges have been laid in the targeting of staff and students at the Justice Institute of BC.
Between April 2011 and January 2012, 15 people were targeted in a series of offences that took place across Metro Vancouver.
Their homes, vehicles, and property were shot at and set on fire.
Charged are Vincent Cheung, 40, of Langley, and Thurman Taft, 54, of Burnaby.
Accused confirmed to United Nations Gang
Combined Forces Chief Officer Kevin Hackett says the two were connected to gangs:
“I won’t get into too many specifics, but … (the) United Nations Gang.”
Police also say an ICBC employee had provided the victims’ personal information by looking up their license plates.
Investigators map of arson and shooting offences
Timeline of events leading up to charges
- RCMP discover that several victims of arsons and shootings are all linked to the Justice Institute in New Westminster.
- Three of the 10 people targeted are employees of the institute, two are past students, and the others are quote “loosely” linked. None of the victims are hurt, and there is nothing to indicate the incidents are gang-related.
- Police also confirm that another suspicious incident in August is also believed to be linked.
- Security at the institutes’ campuses is enhanced.
- The number of victims grows from 10 to 13 and new information is released about the past and present Justice Institute employees and students who have been the targets of arsons and shootings.
- Investigators discover an ICBC employee inappropriately accessed data about 65 people, including the 13 victims:
“That employee, along with other individuals [are] under continued police investigation in an effort to determine what that employee did with the information, and who it may have been passed on to. We’ve got a large team of investigators and we’ve gathered a considerable amount of evidence, and we anticipate those responsible of these violent criminal acts, these shootings and arsons, will ultimately be brought to justice”
- Motive is not confirmed.
- An ICBC adjustor is fired over a breach of dozens of ICBC customers’ private information.
- Those dozens included the 13 victims with ties to the Justice.
- BC’s privacy commissioner calls the case ‘disturbing’:
“My job as privacy commissioner is to independently determine the facts of the breach and evaluate whether or not ICBC has the right controls in place to detect and prevent this from happening again.”
- An arson at the home of a West Vancouver former police chief Scott Armstrong is found to be connected to the investigation.
- Days later, police confirm an attempted arson at a Surrey home is linked to the investigation.
- No one is hurt but the residents of the home have been victimized before:
“Previously, in April of 2011 there was an arson at this home, and in May 2011 there were shots fired at this home, in the vehicle of this home.”
- Police confirm 14 people with ties to the Justice Institute have been targeted.
- Police release video of a suspect in the case. The video is from the early morning hours of January 13th when the home of former West Van police chief Scott Armstrong is set on fire.
- RCMP confirm other suspects have also been identified but no names or descriptions are released.
- An email containing information on the attacks is sent to the RCMP, and they publicly reach out to the author:
“It’s clear from the email that the person who sent it has more information to provide. And we’re encouraging and hopeful that that individual, the author of the email, and that person knows who he or she is, we’re asking that person to call.”
- The ex-claims adjuster at ICBC, and an associate under investigation for allegations of mischief to data, endangering life and criminal breach of trust.