3 more assaults reported in Glen Park area, police say
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2020 5:07PM PST Last Updated Thursday, January 30, 2020 6:36AM PST
VANCOUVER -- RCMP say three more victims have come forward to say they were attacked near a Coquitlam park, raising the total number of cases reported to police up to seven.
Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said the latest reported incidents at Glen Park took place between November and December of 2019.
"We've had three more incidents that we believe are linked to this file come forward," McLaughlin said in a news conference on Wednesday. "The reason the victims waited to come forward is that they weren't even certain that a criminal offence had occurred, but when they saw the news release and this information appearing in the media, they gave us a call."
On Monday, Coquitlam RCMP announced they were investigating four sexual assaults they believe are connected. Mounties said each incident involved a woman being touched or slapped by a man. The first two incidents were reported on Dec. 16 and 19, with the next two attacks reported on Jan. 22 and 25.
Many who frequent the park say they are staying clear, for fear they could be the next victim.
People cut through Glen Park to access shops on the other side, but with no lights, it's pitch black at night.
"It's definitely sketchier and I usually try and go around now," said Renee Hogan, who lives in condo nearby.
She says avoiding the park adds about five minutes to her walk home, but adds it's a sacrifice she's willing to make while a prolific attacker is on the loose.
"We had a notice in our elevator so seeing that is definitely uneasy. Especially when it’s the path you take every day. It’s concerning, that’s for sure," Hogan told CTV News.
The suspect has been described as a man with a slight build who's "below-average height." He was also reported to be wearing dark clothing, including a black jacket.
Numerous residents told CTV News that they felt the lack of lighting in the park was contributing to the problem.
Until the man is caught, they will be taking extra precautions.
"People turn on their cell phone light and just walk," said Jay Park as he cut through the park.
Hogan says she's trying to be more aware of her surroundings.
"I try and keep one earphone out so I can hear what’s going on and keep my phone handy as well," she explained.
McLaughlin described the cases as a "high priority" for police.
Anyone with information on the assaults is asked to call the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and ask for the Sex Crimes Unit.