Mar 5, 2013 / 1:58 pm
A 46-year-old man has been charged after allegedly escalating a dispute involving a BC Hydro smart meter to a near-explosive level last week.
Mounties say the Hope resident pulled out a homemade bomb on Thursday after he and his wife had violently threatened hydro employees and police officers for trying to replace an illegally installed meter at their home on Ross Road.
Staff Sgt. Suki Manj told CTV News he was arresting the man’s wife for threatening and kicking him when the bomb was presented.
“It appeared to be two mason jars, typical canning jars, with blue clear liquid in them. There were red wires attached to each one and a red trigger,” Manj said.
“I’ll tell you, I’ve been a police officer for 17 years and this is the closest I’ve come to needing to resort to lethal force.”
Officers were eventually able to convince the man to leave the device at his home and surrender, Manj said.
The RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit was called to the property and determined the jars were likely filled with jet fuel. The bomb was destroyed at the scene.
Hope resident Dean Grykuliak has been charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and two counts of conveying a threat against police.
Ella Gutierrez, 48, also from Hope, has been charged with assaulting a peace officer.
Several thousand B.C. residents have protested the installation of smart meters at their homes, arguing the wireless devices emit harmful radiation and violate their personal privacy.
BC Hydro insists the meters are safe, and will help residents conserve energy.
The company said it will not install smart meters without homeowners’ permission, but the Hope incident was different because the home had an illegally-installed meter police believe may have been taken from an abandoned house nearby.
"Tampering with BC Hydro grid equipment is dangerous and illegal. Our responsibility is to make sure that our grid and equipment are safe and reliable," spokeperson Simi Heer said in a statement.
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