Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 2016
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Joe Fries
Page: A3


Lit jar of gasoline thrown at downtown business; suspects caught on

Neither police nor the owner of a marijuana compassion club in
downtown Penticton club are tying an attempted arson at the shop
Wednesday night to the business's dealings.

Two suspects are wanted in connection with the incident, which
involved a jar full of gasoline being lit on fire and thrown against
the front of the Rush In and Finish Cafe on Westminster Avenue.

The cafe doubles as the Herbal Green Compassion Club, believed to be
the first such service in Penticton to openly sell medical marijuana.

Owner Jukka Laurio said the "make-believe Molotov" cocktail cracked a
window and damaged a sign and the facade of the building, but snuffed
itself out before doing more harm.

"It was quite an amateur job. They weren't professionals, just a bunch
of punk-ass kids. There's not really something to be concerned about,"
said Laurio.

He doesn't believe the attack had anything to do with the compassion
club, which he said has no rivals here in Penticton.

"It could be related to a lot of things. It's not like everybody loves
me - some that don't are quite passionate about it," said Laurio, who
has twice run for mayor of Penticton, but ended his first campaign in
2011 after it was revealed he served jail time for sexual assault.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said investigators are being careful
not to draw any conclusions from Laurio's past or his current business

"It's an attempted arson at a business, as far as we're concerned,"
said Moskaluk. "We're not assuming anything."

The suspects were captured on surveillance video. One was wearing a
light-coloured hoodie with jeans and dark shoes, while the other had
on a light-coloured shirt, dark pants and light-coloured shoes.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Penticton
RCMP at 250-492-4300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at

The attempted arson has not affected the operation of the compassion
club, which opened in May, and Laurio still intends to expand it into
a neighbouring space.

"Everything's moving ahead as planned," he said.

Clients, who must be at least 25, don't require legal authorization
from Health Canada to purchase marijuana from the compassion club, and
are instead assessed by staff on a case-by-case medical basis.
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