Waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk suddenly feels frightening for a young Nanaimo woman.
“I will quadruple check there’s no one around me,” said the 21-year-old, who asked CHEK to protect her identity.
“I’m definitely keeping more eyes on people,” she said. “You don’t know, it’s just worrisome.”
Her fear is in the wake of a frightening groping incident at the intersection of Dufferin and Bowen roads on May 26, 2019 at around 11 a.m. The 21-year-old was waiting to cross at the intersection, when a young man allegedly grabbed her buttocks, smirked and ran away.
“I felt rage,” she said.
“Like I was ready to hit him but my hands were full and when he turned around and smirked at me I was ready to honestly chase after him.”
Ten minutes later at Bowen and Meredith roads, a woman pushing a baby stroller and passing the Husky station was allegedly groped as well by a man matching the same description.
“Based on the descriptions, it appears that it is the same individual involved,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, media relations officer with the Nanaimo RCMP.
“So what we have is a male who is Indigenous or Spanish descent about five foot six, slight build, short dark hair,” said O’Brien. In the first incident, the man is described as wearing brown pants, a light-coloured shirt and was carrying a black backpack with a diamond on it. In the second incident, he is described as wearing a white T-shirt, tan khaki pants and carrying a black backpack.
Now RCMP and his victims are eager to see the suspect caught, before his unwanted touching escalates.
“These situations can escalate,” said O’Brien.
“So we certainly want to find out who this individual is and put a stop to it as quickly as possible.
The 21-year-old woman said she is wondering if the man is going to try anything further.
“He’s a coward. He has to wait for an opportunity that’s someone’s busy and they can’t do something about it,” she said.
“He’s looking for an opportunity and that’s even worse. I feel like he’s done it before.”
RCMP are urging anyone with a similar experience to come forward. Anyone with information can call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.