Monday, December 03, 2007
Tieleman's office broken in - BC Legislature Raid calling card left but nothing stolen
Over the weekend my office was broken into and trashed, with a clear BC Legislature Raid calling card left to make sure I knew why it happened.
As many will have already read on the Tyee or in 24 hours Tuesday edition, the Vancouver Police Department is investigating why a person or persons unknown went to extreme lengths to force their way into my office, go through my files and ransack the place without stealing anything.
But the message was made obvious - a copy of the press kit for Ken Merkley's fiction book about the BC Legislature Raid case was carefully removed from my desk and placed on top of the broken acoustic tiles from my ceiling - where the criminal or criminals entered. And my main file cabinet was opened and left open.
There is no other possible explanation for how that press kit for "The Raid" - with its cover photo of the actual police search of the BC Legislature - could have gotten from my desktop to a spot several feet away on top of a broken ceiling tile.
This was a message and it must have everything to do with my reporting on the long, winding case of breach of trust and fraud charges against former BC Ministerial Aides David Basi and Bob Virk and money laundering charges against former government communication aide Aneal Basi, all related to allegations the secret government documents were provided to lobbyists bidding on the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003.
Here's what happened: sometime over the weekend someone tried to first break in to my office by smashing through the drywall to reach in and unlook my door. They were unable to get through the wall despite making a large hole.
Then they tried with a crowbar or other tools to pry open the door, damaging it and the frame but not getting through.
Failing this, they took a crowbar to the office next to mine, succeeding in prying it open.
Upon entering this office, recently vacated, they attempted to force their way in through a deadlocked door between the two offices and failed.
They then pushed a leftover desk against the joint wall, pushed through the ceiling acoustic tiles, climbed into the roof and pushed my ceiling tiles through.
They then entered my office, opened my file cabinet and apparently went through my files - though on first examination nothing seems missing.
Two large bookshelves full of material were pushed over before the attacker or attackers exited back through the ceiling.
The lock on my door was so badly damaged that it had to be drilled out by a locksmith before police and I could get inside to examine the results.
As you can see from the accompanying photos from 24 hours photographer Rob Kruyt, my office is a disheartening mess. It will take some time to clean up and reorganize before it is usable.
But in addition to the BC Legislature raid calling card left as a message, it is also very clear that the intruders had no interest in stealing anything of value.
Two computers, fax machine, laser printer, scanner, spare cell phone, microwave, fridge - nothing was removed or even touched. I could find nothing stolen at all on first check.
Let me be clear - I find this break-in very disturbing.
But I will not let criminals intimidate me.
I have sources developed over four years of covering this story - their identities are protected and secure.
And I have information - some of which has been published, some which has not - it is also secure and is not vulnerable to break-ins.
I am cooperating fully with the Vancouver Police Department and thank them for attending quickly and investigating thoroughly despite obvious demands on their time.
This break-in only shows to me how important the BC Legislature Raid case really is, despite some efforts to relegate it to a minor story - it is decidedly not.
Lastly, I want to send a big thank you to everyone who has called, emailed or posted on this website, the Tyee website, the BC Legislature Raids website or anywhere else.
Your messages are very encouraging and I will continue to diligently investigate this story and report on it as fully as I am able.