Sex assault leaves East Vancouver residents on edge
Residents of an East Vancouver neighbourhood where a teen girl was sexually assaulted this week say they're concerned for the community's safety.
According to police, the 14-year-old victim got off a bus on Kingsway at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday and was walking north on Miller Street when she was pulled into a wooded area.
"As she made her way through the neighbourhood, she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man and pulled into bushes in Brewers Park just off of Commercial Street. The suspect sexually assaulted the victim before running east through the park," Const. Jason Doucette said.
Without an arrest, those who live around park say they're rattled by the incident.
"I think it's awful and really scary because I have a daughter and this is in our backyard basically," resident Astra Balogh told CTV News. "Now I don't ever want her to walk home by herself and I'm scared for all the high school kids."
Scott Hunt, who often takes his dogs to the park, said the area is dark and is visited by few people during this time of the year.
"We come here all the time… It's awful for it to be in our own neighbourhood," he said. "We look out for each other around here and it's scary that it was even at that time of the day."
The suspect is described as a white man in his late 20s with a medium build, short brown hair, brown eyes and stubble on his face. He was wearing a jacket, blue jeans and black boots at the time of the incident.
Police did not release any additional details Friday, but two young girls who spoke to CTV News at the park Friday thought they had seen someone matching the description of the suspect on the day before and reported the incident to their teacher.
The girls were part of a bigger group of young people who said they were all aware of the case and were taking precautions by travelling as a group.
Andrea Ericksen, another resident, also said she remembers a few instances of men she felt "didn't belong" around the school.
"What are we supposed to do? It's where we live. We walk our dogs here. Kids pass through this area," she said.
Police are looking for dash cam footage from anyone who might have been driving in the area between 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
"Specifically, police are looking for footage from anyone driving in: Kingsway Avenue along the south, E 22nd Avenue at the north, Welwyn Street to the west, and Victoria Drive at the east," Doucette said.
Those with information that could advance the investigation are asked to contact officers with the VPD's Department's Sex Crimes Unit at 604-717-0602 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
With files from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst