VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver police are looking to arrest a condo owner accused of running a “makeshift nightclub” downtown.
Police say this comes after a host, apparently a doorman, was slapped with over $2,500 in fines on Saturday for throwing a large gathering.
The VPD was tipped off when a woman called them to say she had been invited to a party. When she got to the unit on Richards Street, police say she found about 100 people inside, as well as a doorman.
“Police officers responded and attempted, over the course of a couple of hours, to have the host of the party or the owner of the apartment to come to the door. But were unsuccessful in doing so,” explains Sgt. Steve Addison.
“They could hear voices and music and loud noises coming from inside, but the person who owns the apartment refused to answer the door.”
"Saturday’s party was so big, it featured a doorman who was wearing a protective vest, carrying a counting device, and holding several denominations of money." https://t.co/IzdoOhTH1H
— Denise Wong (@DeniseTWong) January 25, 2021
While officers were there, Addison says they noticed a man come out of a second entrance to the apartment. That man, the “doorman,” was wearing a “protective stab-proof vest, and he had a counter in his hand, and he had several denominations of money. It was pretty clear this guy was acting as like a host or a doorman for the party.”
The doorman was issued more than $2,500 in tickets, including a $2,300 ticket for holding an unlawful social gathering and a $230 ticket for not wearing a face covering.
According to the VPD, this is the fourth party the apartment owner has hosted this month.
“Because the actual owner of the apartment refused to come out to be issued his ticket, we’re going to be working with Crown Counsel now requesting a warrant for his arrest,” Addison explains. “Hopefully once that warrant is approved he can be arrested and released by a judge with conditions that will be a little bit more strict and hopefully encourage him more to abide by the health orders that are in place.”
VPD trying to get court-ordered conditions put in place that will ban the owner from hosting large parties again. So far in Jan., VPD has received four complaints about social gatherings inside the apartment. 2/2 Details on @NEWS1130.
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) January 25, 2021
Apartment owners hide from police
Addison says the condo owner was very clearly inside the unit when officers came by, but refused to come out. He says this is something police are seeing happen “fairly regularly” downtown.
He says on a number of occasions, officers have responded to a complaint about a large gathering, and arrived to hear whispers from people telling guests to hide and turn down the music. There have also been instances where the host refuses to come to the door altogether.
“They obviously know they’re breaching the public health order and they’re doing something they shouldn’t be,” Addison tells NEWS 1130.
‘Don’t think you’re going to get away with it’
However, he has a warning for anyone thinking they can get away from a ticket by just hiding from police.
“It’s important for everybody to understand that the public health order is in place and that they have a responsibility to obey the public health order. That means if you’re invited to a party, don’t go to the party,” he explains.
B.C.’s public health order currently prohibits large gatherings, such as parties. British Columbians are also being asked to limit their social interactions, only interacting with the people in their households.
Addison says the orders are there for the safety of all, and need to be respected.
For anyone thinking of throwing a party, he warns police are getting calls from the public “all the time,” and that officers will attend.
“We’re dealing with them appropriately with the tools that we’ve been given under the health order,” Addison adds.
“In this case, this fellow thought that he could avoid the consequences by not answering the door. The result of that was the guy who was working as a doorman ended up getting $2,500 in fines and we’re now going through a court process to deal with him. Don’t think you’re going to get away with it.”