Arson suspect in Alberni gets 18 months in jail

Port Alberni resident Ryan Cootes, 24, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years probation for an arson spree last summer.

The man accused of an arson spree in South Port last summer will be spending the next year-and-a-half in prison, provincial prosecutor Gordon Baines said.

In Port Alberni provincial court on Wednesday, Judge Brian Saunderson sentenced Ryan J. Cootes, 24, to 18 months in prison and three years probation for three counts of arson.

The Crown sought a two-year incarceration while the defense asked for a conditional sentence order.

The incidents occurred on Aug. 17.

Police responded to a 911 call at 4:45 a.m. about a vehicle fire on Fourth Avenue.

When emergency personnel arrived to extinguish a burning van, they received two separate calls of another vehicle fire and a structure fire, both in the upper Neill Street area.

Police apprehended Cootes after a neighbourhood resident identified him.

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