Police nab 15-year-old suspect in string of SkyTrain sex assaults
Police believe a 15-year-old boy was behind a series of "stranger attacks" that targeted four women in Metro Vancouver over the past week.
Burnaby RCMP said plainclothes officers arrested the teenager as he was leaving Surrey Central SkyTrain station Wednesday afternoon, and they're recommending sexual assault charges against him.
The first attack took place near Metrotown Station around 9:30 on Friday evening.
The next day, another woman was attacked in New Westminster near Eliott Street and Clarkson Street, not far from Columbia Station.
The third attack happened mid-afternoon on Monday when a 25-year-old woman was thrown to the ground and assaulted near Canada Way and Edmonds Street.
“This attack once again very aggressive. It appeared that the individual or suspect had followed the woman to a location where he may have thought he wasn’t likely to be seen,” said Cpl. Brett Cunningham of the Burnaby RCMP.
Investigators in New Westminster and Burnaby began to believe the assaults may be linked and formed a task force that included the Burnaby RCMP Serious Crimes Unit, Prolific Offender Unit, Strike Force Team, Investigative Support Team, the New Westminster Police Department and Metro Vancouver Transit Police.
Early Wednesday morning, Burnaby RCMP received a similar report from a woman who said she was also attacked in the Edmonds area.
Based on the time and location of the assaults, police believe the suspect was travelling by SkyTrain and possibly selecting victims on the train, or as they walked away from stations.
“We saw a dangerous pattern of behaviour. This was very brazen and predatory in nature,” said Cunningham. “We believe, had this person not been apprehended, we would have likely seen another victim, or several victims.”
The suspect, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, remained in custody as of Thursday morning and police said officers and victims services are "continuing to work with the 15-year-old's family and the victims of these crimes."