West Shore RCMP say a man who allegedly exposed himself to people in the Langford area multiple times starting in June has been arrested.
Mounties arrested the unnamed 33-year-old man from the Greater Victoria area on Wednesday, Nov. 8, for 15 counts of commission of an indecent act and one count of indecent exposure, according to RCMP in a news release Tuesday.
“This person was identified as a person of interest relatively early on in the investigation,” said RCMP Const. Andrew Matheson at a press conference.
“But the bridge between a person of interest and a suspect that you can take to court over charges and get as many charges to stick as you can is kind of a long road, so that was where the bulk of the investigation took place.”
The extensive, month-long police investigation began in June when RCMP say they began receiving “sporadic reports” of an unknown male exposing himself to people on and around the Galloping Goose Trail in Langford.
“Due to the size and complexity of the Galloping Goose trail system and the sporadic times and locations of the offences, the investigators faced a number of challenges in identifying the suspect,” said RCMP.
Man released; court date set
Serious crime, bike patrol and frontline officers were involved in the investigation.
Officers used a variety of investigative techniques like covert surveillance and plainclothes operations, and also “executed several digital information production orders and search warrants,” said RCMP. They also interviewed dozens of victims and witnesses.
“Though the suspect exposed himself to his victims, none were physically assaulted,” said RCMP in the release.
But it’s still a form of sexual assault, “in many ways,” noted Matheson.
“This sort of inappropriate behaviour, I mean, one of our victims…appears to be below the age of 16, which can be a very serious thing for a person of that age who’s still developing,” he said.
“It’s just very inappropriate and not something we want Langford to be known for.”
Matheson could not speak to the type of people the man was targeting, adding, “It sounded like it was quite blatant from my understanding. There was not much pretext in his behaviour.”
RCMP say officers gathered enough evidence to bring charges against the suspect who has no criminal record. He was released on an undertaking to appear in court on Feb. 8, 2024.
Trailgoers tell CHEK News they’re happy the suspect was caught.
“We’re out here all the time. So it’s pretty disturbing to think that there’s stuff like that out there,” said Alida Vyskupaitis, who works at a store close to the trial.
“There’s like a bus stop right here with kids. There’s all kinds of people who use this trail. So it’s horrible,” she added.
“I’ve never encountered this person, which, you know, thank God,” said Suzanne Penola. “But, when I’m home from university, I do feel safer now that they’ve caught this person. All in all, I feel safer that they’ve caught the guy.”
Matheson calls the trail an “important part” of the community.
“It is an excellent resource for members of the community, but it is also a place that is not monitored by many surveillance cameras,” he added.
“There are lots of places to hide, there are a lot of places to get on and off of it. And, quite frankly, there are, potentially, a lot of public at risk from someone like this who is frequenting this area so frequently.
“We wanted to identify and charge him as soon as possible.”
RCMP believe there may be more victims who have not filed police reports, so they’re asking anyone who was or knows a victim of this crime to call 250-474-2264.
West Shore RCMP provided a map of the exposure locations: