SURREY — Police say they believe one person is responsible for three recent groping incidents in Newton.
Surrey RCMP continue to investigate if the same man is responsible for five more, dating back to March 15.
The Special Victims Unit has conduct of the investigations, which is made up of experienced investigators who specialize in solving sexual offences that are potentially “serial” in nature or “stranger” related.
Two different victims provided a similar description of their attacker, leading to two different composite sketches. Surrey RCMP showed both sketches at a press conference Friday (May 25), including one that was previously released on May 18, and one that was released for the first time, completed just before the media event began.
Police say the suspect in all three cases is described as South Asian man, 5’10”, medium build, dark hair and may or may not have facial hair.
Surrey RCMP are also looking for the suspect vehicle, a grey or brown Honda Accord (between 1998 and 2002), with tinted windows and a sunroof, and have released traffic camera footage of the vehicle they believe was used in two incidents.
“Sexual assaults are disturbing crimes and can generate apprehension in the community,” said Staff Sergeant Major Beth McAndie with the Major Crimes section. “On behalf of the Surrey RCMP I want to assure you that we are committed to public safety and locating the person responsible for these incidents.”
McAndie said sometimes, when police see a series of incidents such as this after a person goes through a “personal crisis.”
“If this is the case, we encourage you to come forward to speak to us,” she said, her comment directed at the suspect.
The first assault happened on April 24. Police say a woman was walking in the area of 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard when a man walking in the opposite direction grabbed her arm and groped her. The man ran away when the victim screamed.
Police say a woman was then assaulted Sunday (May 20) at about 5:15 a.m. Surrey RCMP say a woman walking down the street near 144th Street and 76th Avenue was “grabbed by the arm and groped by a male suspect who passing in the opposite direction.” The woman fought back, and the suspect ran away.
Then, around 4:45 a.m. on Monday, May 21, a woman walking east on 72nd Avenue at 134 Street was grabbed from behind an sexually assaulted by an unknown man, police say.
On Friday, police declined to release more details about the attacks, or the severity of the assaults.
“The information we have released to the public about these incidents is not intended to raise fear, but to raise awareness about this investigation,” said McAndie. “We want community members to know that we are looking for a man who has violated women in Surrey, and we are asking for your help to locate him and the suspect vehicle.”
Surrey RCMP ask anyone with information to call 604-599-0502, or Crime Stoppers, to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477 or solvecrime.ca.
With files from Black Press
— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) May 25, 2018