In less than a month, Internet sites, Facebook pages, and a police website have produced so many images of crime suspects taken during the June 15 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot that investigators are struggling to sort through "an overwhelming response" of information, photos, and videos.
At least 34 people, most identified in the images, have now turned themselves in, say police, who initially arrested more than 100 rioters. Many others are still being sought--apparently including a Washington man identified on a Seattle Craigslist chat spot. The Vancouver Police Integrated Riot Investigation Team continues to analyze more than 15,000 photos and nearly 3,000 individual video files, according to a newly released police update.
And though police have advised the public not to take the law into their own hands, some of the suspects report they've been harassed and threatened, and have gone into hiding. In one case, a rioter identified as Dustin Anderson of Vancouver, accused of slugging a firefighter (video below), has a Facebook page someone named after him, called "Arrest Dustin Anderson," where his movements are tracked live.
The hefty suspect is watched even when he goes out to eat: "The fat punk who punched a Firefighter is currently at Stan's Pizza Joint on Hastings and Willingdon," wrote a recent poster. "Call Stan's @ (604) 298-5711 and tell em not to let Dustin eat/drink there."
An apparently apologetic Anderson told the CBC he can't leave his house because he's recognized and followed. "It's not like I was lighting cars on fire," the 22-year-old accused assaulter says, "or smashing in windows." He promised to turn himself in.
The vast photo files and roughly 1,600 hours of tapes being scrutinized and probed by the nearly 50-member team of Vancouver investigators and civilian experts have prompted police to delay responses to tipsters: "We ask that you please be patient," police advise web visitors. "We will be in contact with you in due course."
Police say they're elated not only with the public's response but with their own: According to a report today, not a single complaint for excessive use of force has been lodged against Vancouver Police or the RCMP for their actions in controlling the riots. A civil-liberties official figures that may be the result of "people being very embarrassed that they were down there--even the guy who got hit with the flash grenade."
Dustin Punches Firefighter: