Warnings about Balaclava Rapist posted near schools
Published Monday, September 5, 2016 6:38PM PDT
Fear of a man known as the "Balaclava Rapist" has prompted residents of East Vancouver neighbourhood to take matters into their own hands.
Mount Pleasant residents say they've seen convicted sex offender Larry Takahashi in and around the area in the weeks since police announced he'd be living in a Vancouver halfway house.
But police haven't told the public where the 63-year-old is living. Last month, officers issued a warning that Takahashi had been granted day parole, although he is still considered to be of moderate to high risk.
They said he'd be serving his parole in a halfway house in Vancouver, but didn't say which part of the city Takahashi would call home. They have not confirmed Takahashi is living in Mount Pleasant.
So some people in Mount Pleasant have taken it upon themselves to warn the community that the offender is allegedly living nearby. Some of the signs said which bus he'd been seen taking toward the downtown area, and what he'd been wearing the day they were printed.
Signs are popping up around the community warning others of Takahashi's criminal history, and that he's been spotted in the area. Several of the signs have been posted near David Livingstone Elementary and Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School, while others have been spotted near high-traffic bus stops.
And the signs have some residents on edge.
"That's really terrifying, especially since I walk my dog late at night," a woman told CTV News.
She praised the sign's anonymous poster, saying she wouldn't have known about it otherwise.
Another said the signs, and Takahashi's alleged residency in Mount Pleasant, made her family feel nervous.
"We've lived here pretty much all our life in this neighbourhood… We always feel safe here, but to see something like that in our area is shocking."
A third person CTV asked called the news "really distressing," but a fourth said she wasn't worried.
"I mean, if the guy is around the neighbourhood and walking around, he has a right to live as well," she said.
Police believe Takahashi attacked at least 30 women in Edmonton in the '70s and '80s. He was given the nickname because the offender wore a ski mask as a disguise during the attacks. He was convicted of 14 charges and handed three life sentences, but was released in Victoria three years ago on an unescorted temporary absence.
Just days after his release, he was back behind bars following public outcry in the B.C. capital, but last month police issued a warning that he had been granted day parole.
Takahashi is living at a correctional halfway house, where he must abide by several conditions including that he avoid drugs, alcohol and pornography, and be at the house between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
He also is forbidden to visit residential areas of colleges or universities or travel in vehicles with women, apart from transit.
He must report all relationships with women, including friendships, with his parole supervisor, and is required to participate in treatment addressing “emotional issues and sexual deviancy.”
Takahashi also cannot own or use a computer or any device that allows for unsupervised internet access.
Anyone who sees Takahashi violating any of his conditions is urged to call 911 immediately.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst