Police have canvassed nearly 200 businesses for video surveillance of the recent machete attack on 89-year-old Bob Plumb. Poor video quality, and cameras facing the wrong direction have not helped to identify the assailant. Neither has witness reports, which describe the attacker as a guy on a bike with a black hoodie.
“That’s what we have to work on,” Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Mike Kurvers said in a presentation Monday to Courtenay council. “We have to narrow down the parameters, and we have to go through hours and hours of video surveillance to try and pinpoint somebody on a bike with a black hoodie.”
The attack occurred around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 31 on the 400-block of 5th Street. Plumb was inside his vehicle waiting for newspapers to deliver. He was approached by a man on a bicycle who asked for a cigarette. Plumb told him he didn’t have any before the man assaulted him with what appeared to be a machete.
“He drove himself to our detachment, and stood at the front door waiting for us,” Kurvers said. “This guy’s tough, I’m telling you. He quite impressed me.”
The community has rallied around Plumb, who sustained multiple slashes to his face. A Crowdfunding campaign has so far raised $31,150 to help his recovery. Extra funds will be donated to a charity of his choice.
“Everybody’s 150 per cent on this one,” Kurvers said. “We’re taking baby steps, but we are making progress. I know this one’s deep in the community’s minds.”
Kurvers also discussed the gun fire in June at the Coffee Love Bug Shop at 950 Cumberland Rd., and at adjacent buildings.
“We believe the two shootings were related to a drug trade conflict,” Kurvers said. “We obtained video around the Love Bug but we did not make any successful identifications.”
Again, one of the issues is poor quality video and people not knowing how to use the equipment.
“Right now we’ve had no co-operation from any of the participants we’ve identified. Basically, people on the street don’t want to talk to us.”
Kurvers said police have searched and recovered exhibits at a residence at 1077 Piercy. The property is for sale.
“We have to clear out the people when it’s time for a showing. We are finding booby traps in the house with needles and things. It’s problematic for us. Just have to find the right buyer. We are doing our part to help with that…Basically, we are going to that property daily. We’ve had 109 files created.”
Coun. Doug Hillian asked him to share some of the challenges of arresting and charging people.
“We’re evidence-based,” Kurvers said. “We need the evidence to support charges…It’s a hard, hard process to actually get people in jail.”
He implores the public to report everything to police.