An arson spree that targeted businesses and homes in central Abbotsford in mid-April has netted a jail sentence of almost four years for a 20-year-old man.
Colby Drew Jandrew (in photo) was sentenced July 25 in Abbotsford provincial court to a prison term of three years and eight months after pleading guilty to three counts of arson damaging property and one count of arson in relation to inhabited property.
Jandrew set three fires in the early morning of April 16: at an abandoned home on Hillcrest Avenue, at the outside rear of the Red Apple Food Store on Marshall Road while seven people were inside the residential units of the building, and at an outside covered area at a bank in the 2500 block of Clearbrook Road.
Forty-eight hours later, two more arsons occurred – one at another abandoned home on Hillcrest Avenue and the other at a carport of a home occupied by four people on Adelaide Street.
Jandrew was a person of interest in the arsons when he was arrested for, and charged with, a break-in on April 19. He was convicted of that offence on April 22 and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
At a recent public meeting of the Abbotsford Police Board, Det. Tony Demers described the evidence that led to Jandrew’s arson charges, during a presentation on what goes on behind an investigation.
Demers said evidence found at one of the scenes included an empty water bottle that contained accelerant.
He said investigators pulled video footage from about 20 locations at and around the arsons and discovered a man wearing a grey track suit in several of the clips.
In one of the videos, the man left the scene and returned wearing black track pants with green and white stripes.
The man could be seen tossing aside a water bottle in another one of the videos.
Meanwhile, staff at the Red Apple Food Store reported that on the day following the fire at that business, they found that a note in a Ziploc bag had been pushed under the door.
The note accused a certain person of having started the fire.
Video pulled from that site showed a man in a grey track suit pushing the note under the door.
When Jandrew was arrested for the break-in, he was wearing a grey track suit with striped pants underneath.
A police search of his home found water bottles of the same brand that had been found at the one arson scene and a piece of torn cardboard that aligned perfectly with the note found at the Red Apple.
Forensic analysis of the items found at the arsons matched Jandrew’s DNA.
Jandrew was just leaving prison in mid-May after serving his sentence for the break-in when police were able to arrest him for the arsons. He was charged on May 11.
At the time, Abbotsford Police spokesman Const. Ian MacDonald said police were relieved to be able to keep Jandrew in custody.
“Theses fire created a great deal of concern for the community, especially in the affected areas and neighbourhoods,” he said at the time.