Late one drunken March night, six youths decided to play a round of fence bowling. The idea of the game is as simple as it is stupid — to destroy a fence with your body. The group took to it with glee, kicking, slamming and even uprooting a Share the Road sign to help beat down the defenceless fence.
The property's owners, Jan and Tony D'Eon heard everything. The retired couple called the police, but by the time an RCMP vehicle was able to reach their isolated North Vancouver neighbourhood, the vandals were long gone.
Although the drunks got away, they left behind some serious damage. The area's district response sergeant, Warren Wilson, was frustrated by the vandals' escape and decided to give back to the D'Eons, long-time community members who had been targeted by drunken vandalism for months.
"I collected a merry band of rag-tag volunteers who were willing to swing a few hammers on their day off," says Wilson. "We more or less descended on their house for three weekends in a row to help rebuild their fence."
Mike Arnold, a retired RCMP inspector (and amateur carpenter), helped lead the group of off-duty officers and neighbours in fixing up the fence. And although the original vandals were never caught, someone else was: with the D'Eons' vigilance, the RCMP was able to arrest a prolific graffiti tagger who'd been vandalizing the area for months.
"It was a great community event, and I think it took a little bit of the bitter out of their mouths," says Wilson. "They even brought us donuts, because they heard that cops like donuts!"
"It's hard not to get angry when you wake up and see people destroying your property," says Tony D'Eon. "Sgt. Wilson listened to us and that was a great help — and then he went the extra mile and did something constructive about it."