RCMP were on the scene in blast suits investigating the victim’s residence in Port Alice on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Photo by Thomas Kervin/Black Press

2 injured in Vancouver Island mail explosion

Victim recovering in hospital after incident that occured while he unwrapped parcel at home

Two Port Alice residents were injured Tuesday when a mail package exploded in a man’s hands in what police are calling a targeted incident.

According to a resident who requested to remain anonymous, Roger Nepper, a long-time Port Alice local in his 60s and retired from the town’s pulp mill Neucel Specialty Cellulose, was rushed to a hospital Sept. 11 in Nanaimo after sustaining serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Nepper’s wife, Shirley Bowick, received minor burns from the incident.

According to the anonymous resident, the mail package was allegedly sent from the Yukon.

The RCMP confirmed in a media release Wednesday morning the incident is believed to have been targeted. Nepper received the package through Canada Post, and while opening it up in his home the package blew up. The Port Alice Emergency Facebook page posted Tuesday afternoon that the town’s post office, Scotiabank branch and the residential Clark Drive area where the incident occurred, were closed down following the incident. The post also asked members of the public to avoid those areas and respect police investigations and the fire department’s efforts.

The two homes next to the victim’s residence were evacuated while the RCMP, in heavy protective suits or what may be known as a blast suit, went into the victim’s home. As of Wednesday, the RCMP were still investigating the scene. Island district media relations officer, Cpl. Tammy Douglas, said via press releasr that the Port Hardy RCMP, the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit, an RCMP explosives dog, Campbell River RCMP Forensic Identification Section and RCMP Island District General Investigation Section are assisting in the investigation. Canada Post is also engaged, but has referred all questions to the RCMP.

Douglas asked anyone with information to contact the Port Hardy RCMP at 250-949-6335 or anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

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