Vancouver Police arrest penthouse party host, fine 77 guests

VANCOUVER Police issued more than $17,000 in fines on Sunday morning and arrested a 42-year-old man who was operating a makeshift nightclub in his Richards Street penthouse.

(Mohammad Movassaghi was released from custody on Sunday afternoon. He agreed to five bail conditions that include a promise not to host any events in his residence, not to have any alcohol in his home and to limit occupancy of his suite to himself and one other person, according to CBC.)

“Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” said Sgt. Steve Addison on Sunday. “If you are caught hosting or attending a party during the pandemic, and continue to break the rules, you could face stiff fines or wind up in jail.”

Vancouver Police launched an investigation one week ago after a witness called police to report a large party inside a penthouse apartment near Richards Street and Georgia Street. Police handed out numerous fines to a man who was allegedly working as a doorman, however the party host refused to open the door and was defiant with police.

Officers returned early Sunday morning with a search warrant after two additional large parties were held this weekend.

The 1,100-square-foot penthouse was packed with people and appeared to be running as a nightclub and show lounge.

“Our officers found 78 people inside the three-level apartment, and none of them were wearing masks,” said Addison. “There were menus, tables, point-of-sale terminals, and cash tills.”

VPD officers issued each partygoer a $230 ticket for failing to wear a face covering – contrary to the Emergency Program Act. The party host was arrested under the Public Health Act and taken to jail.

The Emergency Program Act bans social gatherings of any size inside residences, but allows people who live alone to host two people with whom they regularly socialize.