'Suspicious incident' photos were leaked: VPD

Vancouver police say photos of three men who were seen taking "suspicious" photographs at a downtown mall were leaked to the media, and investigators had not planned on going public with the information.

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In a press conference on Friday, Chief Const. Adam Palmer said police "have no idea" who leaked the information to a Vancouver news outlet.

He said the information and photographs were part of an internal bulletin shared among police officers throughout the province.

"Police balance public safety, people's privacy and keep an open mind in any investigation," he said. "For this reason the VPD has not, and will not, be releasing any photographs regarding this incident at this time."

Police are still looking to speak to anyone who may have information about the "suspicious incident."

Police had earlier said in a news release that "Middle Eastern-looking men" were seen taking pictures and videos of the various entrances and exits inside Pacific Centre Mall, with a specific focus on one entrance on Tuesday, around 6:30 p.m.

"There is no information to believe that these men have committed a crime," police said in a news release on Thursday. "Nor do we have information to believe that the public is currently at risk."

On Friday, Palmer said the bulletin was not a result of racial profiling.

"All of the information we've ever released to the media or other police agencies over all the years… we always say if they're white, if they're South Asian, if they're Middle Eastern, and these folks looked Middle Eastern."

Palmer also urged the public not to "jump to conclusions."

"It's a pretty serious thing if we're going to be releasing photographs to the general public when someone's job can be affected, when their neighbours may think that they're up to something… When it fact there may be a pretty reasonable explanation for what these people were up to."

Palmer said, although not crime may have been committed, police do want to speak to the men.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department at 604-717-3235.



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