VANCOUVER Police arrested a 35-year-old man Sunday morning after two people were randomly assaulted while walking on Commercial Drive.
“These assaults appear to have been completely unprovoked,” said Sgt. Steve Addison on Monday. “Fortunately, witnesses called 9-1-1 right away and VPD officers were able to arrest the suspect before anyone was seriously hurt.”
Police believe the suspect was walking near Broadway and Commercial Drive around 8 a.m. on Sunday when he allegedly approached a 35-year-old man outside a fast-food restaurant and sexually assaulted him by groping him from behind. A number of people saw the incident and called 9-1-1, but the suspect fled before police arrived.
Moments later, the suspect allegedly assaulted a woman who was walking alone near Commercial Drive and East 12th Avenue. He pushed her against a fence and punched her. Another witness called 9-1-1.
VPD officers arrested the suspect nearby and anticipate that charges will be laid at the conclusion of the investigation.
“We’re continuing to investigate these incidents to understand the suspect’s motivation and to determine whether these cases could be linked to other stranger attacks in the city,” said Addison.
Vancouver Police have seen a significant increase in stranger assaults and sexual assaults this summer. In July alone, there was a 129 per cent increase in stranger sexual assaults reported to police.
Anyone who sees a crime or is victim of a crime is asked to call police immediately so police can respond.