Police investigating after Vancouver woman says she was followed for 40 minutes
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver police have opened an investigation after a young woman shared her story of allegedly being followed through the city’s downtown area for about 40 minutes.
CTV News Vancouver has chosen to blur the man in the video as police have not yet named him as a suspect or a person of interest.
Jamie Coutts posted to social media early Thursday morning saying she was walking home from the Shoppers Drug Mart at Dunsmuir and Granville Streets around 5:30 p.m. the day before, when she noticed a man following closely behind her. She says she stepped off the sidewalk to let him pass, but he didn’t.
“I then said, ‘You're walking too close to me,’” she wrote in her post. “He still didn’t say anything, so I continued to walk. With him still following behind me, but now more like 5 feet.”
Coutts says she decided to make a few loops around the block to see if the man would change directions, but he continued following.
At this point she took her phone out to start recording in selfie mode. She says she made a conscious decision to film the encounter while it was happening, rather than call police.
“To me, having a video of him was much more important, and staying in a public place. If I took away the camera I was nervous I wouldn’t catch him if he tried to do something,” she wrote.
The video posted online runs for almost 10 minutes, ending with Coutts walking to a skate park near Chinatown and asking a group of strangers if she could sit with them.
The man can be seen still lingering at this point, before eventually leaving.
Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addision confirmed Thursday that a police report had been filed Wednesday night and that police are investigating.
“It was reported to police last night shortly after it happened and we immediately opened an investigation,” Addison said. “Obviously, this incident is very concerning to us and we take it very seriously. We applaud the victim in doing the right thing in coming forward to the police so that we can conduct a proper investigation.”
Coutts has also posted on social media claiming other women have contacted her with similar experiences.
Sgt. Addison said police are “not aware” of other reported incidents similar to this one, but adds “we will look at the circumstances and the MO, as well as a suspect description, and we will assess to determine if there are any other incidents that could be linked to this.”
He’s asking anyone who may have experienced something similar or has information about this incident to come forward.