Police are investigating a disturbing sexual assault in East Vancouver that’s left neighbours both shocked and worried.

Authoriites said the incident began when the victim, an Asian woman in her 20s, was waiting by herself at a bus stop around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, on East 41 Avenue just east of Earles Street.

A stranger approached and began talking with her. Police said the woman realized she had forgotten something at home, and left the bus stop, walking south on Earles. 

"This man apparently caught up with her," Const. Steve Addison said. "[He] was able to follow her into her residence, and…[she] was attacked and sexually assaulted."

Police called the assault "traumatic," and do not believe the victim knew her attacker.

They described the suspect as an Asian man in his early 40s, with short black hair and an average build. At the time of the assault, he was wearing a white tank top, black shorts, sandals and sunglasses.

"I’m really surprised, because I think it’s very safe here," a neighbour named Ruvi who commutes by bus to university told CTV News. "I never thought something like that could happen here."

She added that up until now she felt comfortable walking alone to the bus stop on East 41st alone during the day, but never at night.

Police wouldn’t say if additional resources, including foot patrols, were being deployed to the neighbourhood of mostly single-family homes.

Anyone with dash cam footage, surveillance video, or who may have seen either the suspect or victim should contact detectives from the VPD’s Sex Crimes Unit at 604-717-0604, or anonymously at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Spencer Harwood