Sûreté du Québec officials in Sainte Adèle said on Friday that they have now charged a man and a woman suspected of having set up to seven cellular telephone service towers on fire in the Laurentians and in Laval – including cell towers in Chomedey and Fabreville.
Following reports of more cell tower fires in Sainte Jérôme and Blainville this week, the SQ said it had arrested Justin-Philippe Pauley, 28, and Jessica Kallas, 25, described as being in their 20s, around 1:30 am on May 7. Over the past week, there were also fires at cell phone towers in Prévost and Piedmont in the Laurentians.
In recent years there have been incidents in some parts of the world involving vandalism to 5G cell phone towers. The incidents are thought to be linked to unfounded rumours 5G towers help spread COVID-19. As well, there has been controversy over the Chinese government’s high-pressure campaign to have its 5G system made by Huawei installed in western countries. In some incidents, it is believed, vandals mistook 3G and 4G towers for 5G.
They are charged with setting fire to Telus cell phone towers in St-Jerome and Blainville, according to the court filing. Pauley and Kallas were also charged with mischief. Provincial police say there have been seven such blazes in the past week.
On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted about the fires. “Vandalizing cellphone towers does nothing but threaten emergency services and impact the daily lives of Canadians across the country,” Trudeau wrote. “These recent acts are serious criminal offences and carry severe penalties.”