The remains of Terry Bearden’s property before a demolition crew came in to remove debris. (Photo submitted)

The remains of Terry Bearden’s property before a demolition crew came in to remove debris. (Photo submitted)

Rimbey arson case may have a lead thanks to reward offered by owner

Anonymous tip alleges the fire was set by three local males

A reward for information regarding a fire on a rural property near Rimbey back in November may yet ‘pay off.’

Owner Terry Bearden received an anonymous tip pointing to three males from the Rimbey and central Alberta area as the alleged perpetrators of what Bearden believes was a deliberately-set fire by thieves frustrated there was nothing unsecured they could steal.

Bearden offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction of those responsible for the fire on his property, located about a mile south of the Rimbey gas plant on Range Road 20 north of Township Road 434, on Nov. 23, 2020.

Now, the Rimbey RCMP confirms that, working with the Ponoka County Regional Fire Services, the fire was probably intentional.

“A determination has been made that the fire was likely the result of arson,” said Cst. Jaspreet Brar of the Rimbey RCMP.

At the time, Bearden said Jerry cans of gasoline had been stolen from his garage, and there was no ignition source on the property, as it was ‘off-the-grid” with no power or heat.

READ MORE: Rural-Rimbey property owner offers $5k award for arson info

No charges have been laid yet, but the investigation is ongoing, says Brar.

“Anyone with information can contact the Rimbey RCMP or Crime Stoppers,” she said.

“Having the lead from the anonymous phone call … means a great deal to us and we are hopeful that some justice will be done,” said Bearden.

As the reward is conditional on a conviction of those responsible, Bearden says it has not yet been paid out.

He added he hopes these types of “senseless crimes could possibly be lessened in the Rimbey and immediate area.”

As some other Alberta detachments have seen, crime stats for the Rimbey area were down slightly during the pandemic.

In 2020, the Rimbey RCMP handled 91 break and enters, down from 105 in 2019, and 153 theft files, down from 193 in the previous year, according to the RCMP.

READ MORE: Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan