Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a man allegedly exposed himself to a young girl at Westwood Lake on Wednesday.
Police say the incident occurred around 6 p.m. when the nine-year-old girl was walking with her family on a trail in the park.
The youth told police that she was walking roughly 100 metres behind her family when a man approached her from behind some bushes and exposed himself.
Police say the man “said a few words” and then left the area.
The girl then ran to her family and her father went back to the area to search for the man but did not locate him.
Police searched the area and spoke with several park-goers but were also unable to find the man. No other sightings were reported Wednesday.
Nanaimo RCMP say that while incidents like this do happen on occasion, overall Westwood Lake remains an “extremely safe” area.
“Westwood Lake is undoubtedly the most popular park in the City of Nanaimo,” said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a release Thursday. “It is used by hundreds on a daily basis for swimming, hiking and cycling, and like other parks and trails throughout Nanaimo, it is extremely safe.”
Police say they are now searching for the man, who is described as being roughly 35 to 40 years of age. Mounties do not currently know what his ethnicity may be. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a blue surgical mask, a green shirt and a black hat with white lettering on the front.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, police recommend leaving the area, not engaging with the person and reporting the incident to police immediately.
Mounties also recommend walking with another person or group and to always carry a cellphone. If you are wearing headphones, reduce the volume so you can hear if someone is approaching you. Police also ask that people try to recall as many details about a person or incident as possible.