One of the more colorful alleged participants in the Stanley Cup riot was in jail Monday in Salmon Arm awaiting transport to Calgary to answer to separate charges related to another hockey-related incident in 2004.
Salmon Arm RCMP arrested Andrew Comber, 38, at his home in Salmon Arm Saturday for his alleged role in last June’s Stanley Cup riot in downtown Vancouver.
The RCMP arrested Comber on behalf of the Vancouver Police Department-led Integrated Riot Investigation Team, which had received tips from the public and other sources.
Comber is facing charges of participating in a riot, mischief and arson but had not made a court appearance Monday when the Courier contacted the Salmon Arm courthouse.
Police said Comber, who painted himself green from head to toe on the day of the riot, is alleged to have taken a stuffed bear, lit it on fire and thrown it on top of an overturned truck in the 300-block of West Georgia Street.
Comber was allegedly “very active and noticeable during the evening and was seen in multiple locations taunting the police,” according to a statement released by Sgt. Howard Chow, a VPD media relations officer.
Upon Comber’s arrest, police contacted the Southern Alberta Integrated Fugitive Apprehension Unit. Comber is wanted on several charges related to incidents in Calgary, including a March 2004 incident where he allegedly kicked out the window of a police van.
The incident occurred after a regular season game between the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes outside the Saddledome arena. Police said he had warrants for his arrest at that time for a previous incident.
Other charges in Calgary include assaulting a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest, mischief under $5,000, theft under $5,000, four counts of failing to appear in court, possession of a controlled substance and liquor act warrants.
Calgary police Det. Stephen Johnston, who oversees warrants for Alberta’s fugitive unit, said sheriffs were expected to travel to Salmon Arm this week to escort Comber to Calgary.
Johnston said he was contacted about Comber by a colleague in Vancouver after the arrest was made in Salmon Arm. The two departments have a relationship going back more than three years when the VPD created its so-called “Con Air” program, where suspects wanted on outstanding warrants are returned to cities where a crime was allegedly committed.
“Regrettably, we’ve got lots and lots of warrants out there and he fell somewhere in the middle—the fact that there was violence involved [in the Calgary incidents] and his connection to the riot certainly brought him higher to our attention,” Johnston said.
Depending on what happens in court in Calgary, Comber will then be obliged to come to Vancouver to answer charges related to the riot. The only way Comber could deal with the Vancouver charges in Calgary is if he entered a guilty plea.