Police have issued a warning to the public after receiving multiple reports of sexual assaults in East Vancouver early Wednesday morning.

The first incident occurred shortly before 12:30 a.m., Vancouver police said. A 22-year-old woman was walking in the area of Joyce Street and Monmouth Avenue when she was approached by a man from behind. The man told her not to move, but she was concerned for her safety and ran off to call police.

About a half-hour later, a 34-year-old woman was entering an apartment building near Joyce and Vanness Avenue when she was grabbed by a stranger. She screamed and the man ran away.

Then at 2 a.m., a 21-year-old woman was grabbed from behind as she walked on East 46th Avenue near Doman Street. The man pulled her into the bushes outside an unoccupied house, and sexually assaulted her.

"What's most alarming for us is there's a man out there that's targeting women," Vancouver Police Const. Jason Doucette said.

In all three incidents, the suspect was described as a man between the ages of 20 and 40, and between the heights of 5-6 and 5-8. He was wearing dark clothing at the time, police said.

Residents of the area said they were shocked by the attacks.

"It's really sad. To me, it's really upsetting," said Jeff Morin, a man who has lived on East 47th for 20 years.

"It makes me want to do some midnight walks around the neighbourhood to keep an eye on what's happening."

He said the incident was a wakeup call, and a reminder to look after each other.

"Keep our eyes open, and don't assume that this is a safe city anymore," he said.

A woman who lives near the attack sites told CTV News she had second thoughts just walking to the grocery store alone, even in broad daylight.

Officers ask anyone with more information, or who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, to contact them at 604-717-3720. Tips can be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers.