‘I was panicking’: Teen victims of Nanaimo home invasion, bear spray attack speak out

Veva Leigh says her two daughters, ages 13 and 17, were attacked by an unknown man in their north Nanaimo home Monday, March 14, 2022.

Two teenage sisters say they were forced to react quickly after an unknown man burst into their north Nanaimo home and fired bear spray at them on Monday.

It happened just before 3 p.m. at a home in the 5200-block of Lost Lake Road, according to Nanaimo RCMP.

A man wearing a balaclava and dressed in camouflage clothing broke into the home and set off the bear spray, then came face to face with the sisters, ages 13 and 17.

“Their bodies, their faces were like beet (red),” said the victims’ mother, Veva Leigh.

Leigh said her daughters’ eyes “were almost swollen shut. That’s something that I will never forget that.”

“We were just trying to have a good time, watching TV and then there appeared this man spraying bear spray at both of us,” said the 17-year-old victim.

“I was panicking because I didn’t know what just happened. All I heard was my sister screaming for me to run,” said the 13-year-old.

Police say they “wisely” ran to a nearby home for help.

“She goes to scream and he shoots her in the mouth with this bear spray. And then grabs the laptop off her, comes that close to her,” said Leigh.

The girls were later treated by attending paramedics for lingering effects from the bear spray.

“Whether you call it a home invasion or a break-and-enter, it’s extremely disturbing with violence, so there’s bear spray used. We don’t know who this person is,” said retired Const. Gary Obrien, Nanaimo RCMP Spokesman.

While a police dog was deployed, investigators did not track down the suspect, who they believe entered the home through an unlocked door.

Police also discovered a hockey bag was missing which they believe was used by the suspect to carry some electronics stolen from the home.

“This was a brazen incident that took place in the middle of the afternoon. This may actually assist in the investigation as someone could have seen the suspect entering or leaving the home,” said O’Brien. “Additionally, there are several vigilant Block Watches in the area who will obviously assist police with their investigation.”

Police are asking drivers and homeowners in the area to check their dashcam and home security cameras from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Monday and see if there is anyone resembling the suspect description, or any vehicles in the area that seemed out of place.

“How could somebody do that to two little girls who were just chilling out watching TV in their pyjamas, in their home?” said Leigh.

“He needs to be punished for what he did.”

Anyone with information or footage is asked to contact police at 250-754-2345 and quote file number 2022-8688.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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