BRITISH COLUMBIA
03/04/2013 04:36 EST | Updated 03/04/2013 06:09 EST

BC Hydro Call Turns Into Bomb Threat

RCMP

A B.C. couple trying to block hydro crews from removing an illegal meter allegedly assaulted police and threatened them with a homemade bomb made of jet fuel.

BC Hydro staff called RCMP from Hope and the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment First Nations Police for backup last Thursday after repeated threats of violence from the couple, said a Monday news release.

The couple had apparently removed their home's original meter and replaced it with an illegal one from a nearby abandoned house. The hydro workers, who were concerned about the safety of the setup, were trying to install a new smart meter.

"Regardless of the type of meter, tampering with BC Hydro grid equipment is dangerous and illegal. Our responsibility is to ensure that our grid equipment and system are safe," said Simi Heer, a BC Hydro spokesperson, in an email.

The couple was told that if they didn't give the crews access to inspect the setup, BC Hydro would be forced to cut power to their home. But when crews arrived, they refused to give them access. The man who lived at the home allegedly told workers and police that "if a new meter was installed, people could lose their lives and police may have to kill him," according to an RCMP statement.

The woman, who became agitated, was arrested for threatening to hit an RCMP officer. As he was escorting her to the police car, she allegedly kicked him.

While all this was happening, the man came out of the house with two Mason jars containing a clear blue liquid, and an igniter rigged to one of the jars. After police negotiation, the man eventually unarmed himself and was arrested.

An RCMP bomb unit determined there was jet fuel in the jars, one of which was attached to a barbecue igniter. Officers destroyed the suspected bomb at the scene.

"You never know what a person is willing to do over something that may seem trivial to others," said Staff-Sgt. Suki Manj. "In this case, we are glad we were able to resolve this situation without anyone been seriously injured."

Dean Grykuliak, 46, has been charged with possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose and two counts of conveying a threat against the two officers. Ella Gutierrez, 48, has been charged with assaulting a peace officer.