Police investigating after woman allegedly groped at Vancouver mall

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer's uniform as she makes a phone call after responding to an unknown incident in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver police are hoping to speak to a woman after receiving reports that she was allegedly groped at a downtown mall last week.

An employee working at Pacific Centre witnessed a man approach the woman from behind and grope her buttocks around 5 p.m. on Friday.

Police say the suspect then fled the area, but was followed by mall security until officers arrived on scene. Police were able to track down the suspect on a bus near Hastings and Abbott streets.

"Our officers have identified a suspect, but need to speak to the woman who was sexually assaulted to gather more information for Crown counsel to lay a charge," said Const. Tania Visintin in a news release Thursday.

The suspect was taken into custody, but later released pending further investigation.

"From speaking to mall patrons, we believe the assault took place near the escalator by American Eagle," Visintin added. "We understand this would be a frightening experience. We are asking her to come forward and speak to investigators."

Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact VPD at 604-717-4034.