Woman accused of setting fires in Beacon Hill Park arrested

Victoria police say a woman was arrested Sunday after she allegedly set fire to grass in Beacon Hill Park, attempted to steal a vehicle, and broke into a home and used its shower.

The incident began around 5:30 p.m. when officers were called to Beacon Hill Park for reports of a woman "using a small torch to light sections of grass on fire."

Several witnesses followed the woman and were working to put out the flames as police made their way to the park.

The first officer to reach the scene reportedly spotted the woman in the 200-block of Simcoe Street. Police say the officer recognized the woman as being wanted on a warrant out of Duncan, and went to arrest her.

The woman reportedly fought with the officer and jumped into a nearby van that was not owned by her. The woman then started the van and tried to drive away while continuing to resist arrest, police say.

The officer used pepper spray, which impacted the vision of both the woman and the officer, according to VicPD. The woman then exited the van and fled the area while the officer called for backup and helped stop the running vehicle.

Additional officers were on their way to the scene when they were flagged down by a bystander. The bystander reportedly told police that they fled their home in a multi-unit residential building with their dog after a woman had broken in, taken clothes from their bedroom, and proceeded to hop into their bathroom and take a shower.

Police went to the suite and found the woman inside of the bathroom, at which point she was taken into custody without further incident.

The woman is now facing a range of recommended charges in addition to the warrant from Duncan.

Police say the woman was also awaiting disposition of prior charges, including alleged assault of staff at a temporary housing facility, breaking and entering, and mischief.

She now faces recommended charges of arson, breaking and entering, attempted theft of a motor vehicle, flight from police and resisting arrest related to Sunday's incident.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

"Given the tinder-dry conditions, VicPD would like to thank the members of the public who extinguished the numerous small grass fires that the woman had started," said Victoria police in a release Monday.

Police added that Victoria is currently under an "extreme" fire danger rating, and urge people to be cautious with flammable materials.