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Penticton repeat offender arrested for Summerland school fire

The 49-year-old is accused of breaking into a church where a fire was lit as well
Burn marks show where someone lit Summerland Secondary on fire. A Penticton repeat offender was arrested for the fire as well as a fire at a Summerland church. (Jeremy Piesinger photo)

Summerland RCMP have arrested a 49-year-old Penticton prolific offender allegedly connected to a series of suspicious fires, including at Summerland Secondary School.

On Feb. 3, the St. Stephens Church in Summerland was broken into and a fire was set in the basement.

This incident was followed by another suspicious fire on Feb. 4, to an exterior doorway at Summerland Secondary. The school fire was reported the next day by a vigilant community member, said police.

Jeremey Piesinger noticed the school’s burned wall on Sunday when he was out for a walk with his dog. Black burn marks went into the ceiling.

“Summerland Secondary School looks lucky to be standing,” said Piesinger.

He called the RCMP shortly after to file a report.

Thanks to the community’s cooperation in providing video surveillance and photographs, RCMP were able to identify and arrest 49-year-old Penticton resident Gerrid Perret.

Perret has been charged with break-and-enter, mischief, and failing to comply with his probation order.

He was remanded into custody on Feb. 5.

Perret was the shirtless man caught on camera doing $300,000 damage after breaking into Naramata helicopter hangar in August 2022. He received 18 months jail for that crime and another crime in Summerland but got out early for time served.

READ MORE: 18 months jail for shirtless man who broke into Naramata helicopter hangar

He was sentenced to 10 days in jail in April 2023 for a break-in and resisting arrest in Summerland. He has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2014.

The Summerland RCMP thanks the public for their assistance in the investigation.

A shirtless Gerrid Perret seen here in RCMP released video surveillance was given seven days jail for breaking into a Naramata helicopter hangar and doing $300,000 damage in 2022. (RCMP handout)

READ MORE: ‘Summerland Secondary lucky to be standing’ after fire set near doorway

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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