Police in Nanaimo have arrested a man suspected of sneaking onto properties in the night and peering through windows for the past several months.
The 19-year-old suspect was arrested late Thursday after police received a report at 10:45 p.m. of a prowler on Twiggly Wiggly Road, in Nanaimo’s Westwood area, a homeowner had confronted on the deck of his home.
“While the members were investigating that original complaint they received a second report of a male of the same description doing a similar activity on Holland Road,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
Police responded with a dog team that tracked the suspect’s trail to Holland Road where he was arrested.
“Through their investigation, they determined that this individual may have been, for several months now, peering into windows of various homes and student residences at Vancouver Island University,” O’Brien said. “The RCMP has met with officials at VIU and shared this information and they’re preparing a safety plan to ensure the safety of all students.”
Police regard the suspect’s behaviour as potentially extremely dangerous.
“You don’t know the motive behind this,” O’Brien said. “You don’t know whether the behaviour will escalate or not, so it’s essential we let the public know that have a situation and we’re dealing with it.”
Police have so far recommended one charge of trespassing by night against the suspect who has been placed on a 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew and is scheduled to appear in Nanaimo provincial court June 19.
O’Brien said to help safeguard against these kinds of occurrences people should keep their blinds closed and to call the police if they see or hear suspicious activity.
Property owners can also take further steps by adding sensor lights, which are triggered by movement, and crushed rock that is noisy when walked on around the perimeters of homes.
Tina McComb, VIU spokeswoman, said there have been no reports from students of any similar incidents, but Mounties met with university safety and student residence staff Friday to review safety measures already in place around student residences and suggest enhancements, such as additional lighting behind buildings.
“This is definitely an opportunity to reinforce basic safety procedures and how people think about their surroundings and how they’re operating within their surroundings,” McComb said. “We’re not trying to raise any alarms, but just reinforcing what people are able to do to keep themselves safe.”
The police investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about these or similar incidents is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.