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Nanaimo police ask public to help identify suspect in sexual assault

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help identify a suspect in a sexual assault in August. - Photo contributed
Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help identify a suspect in a sexual assault in August.
— image credit: Photo contributed

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help identify a man responsible for the sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman.

The incident happened in a grey Pontiac Sunfire parked near the Avalon Cinemas entrance at Woodgrove Centre at about 11 a.m. on Aug. 17.

The woman was parked in the lot near Shoppers Drug Mart at the Country Club Centre when she was approached by a man she didn't know who asked for a ride to Woodgrove Centre. She agreed and, once in the car, he asked to be dropped off near the Avalon Cinemas.

They made small talk and while driving, he said he had attended a wedding the night before in Nanaimo and also owned a business that was not doing well financially.

Once her vehicle was stopped at the cinemas, the man started making overt sexual gestures toward her, then locked the car's doors, choked her and tried to remove her shorts. She screamed and fought back which attracted the attention of a man nearby.

“The actions of the Good Samaritan caused the suspect to stop, run from the car and he was last seen running in the direction of the Island Highway," said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

The woman drove home and was encouraged by her family to call the RCMP.

The suspect is Caucasian, 25-30 years old, approximately 5-foot-10 with short brown hair. He was wearing dress pants, a white dress shirt, pink tie and a ball cap. There was a white emblem on the front of the cap. The victim was extremely upset and remembers little about the man who assisted her, other than he was an older white male.

“Investigators are hopeful the Good Samaritan will be identified and can assist investigators with providing further details about the assault and the suspect male,” O'Brien said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

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