Police release surveillance photos of caretaker, missing after hotel fire

Victoria police have released pictures from surveillance video of Mike Draeger, live-in caretaker at the former Plaza Hotel who remains unaccounted for after the building was destroyed by fire last week.

Officers canvassed the area around the fire site at Government and Pandora and obtained images from a number of buildings, including the adjacent building that houses CTV News Vancouver Island.

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They confirmed the person shown is Draeger after speaking with people who know him.

“The images were taken prior to the fire, so accurately represent what Mr. Draeger looks like,” police said in a statement. “We’re releasing these images in the hopes that somebody will recognize Mr. Draeger and can help lead police to his whereabouts.”

Police did not provide the locations shown in the pictures.

Ida Winter, owner of MokSana Yoga and Healing Centre next to the hotel, said she and her husband, Stephen, saw Draeger quite often.

She said Draeger recently grew a big beard, dramatically changing his look.

Audrey Draeger of Thunder Bay, Ont., has told the Times Colonist that the missing caretaker is her stepson. She described him as a “loner type.”

Mike Draeger was a maintenance worker at the hotel and began working as the caretaker there after it closed in 2013. According to neighbours, he lived in the building and spent much of his time in a basement workshop, where he had an extensive collection of carpentry tools.

Police and fire officials continue to probe the remnants of the fire, which has been deemed suspicious.

Anyone with information about Draeger is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654.

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