Man linked to 3 sexual assaults in Toronto, Collingwood ‘escalating in violence,’ police say
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:29AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 15, 2019 12:18PM EDT
Police say a man who has been linked to three sexual assaults in Toronto and Collingwood between 2015 and 2019 is “escalating in violence” and investigators are appealing to the public for help identifying him.
Police say the first alleged assault occurred on July 28, 2015 at around 1 a.m. in the area of Dufferin Street and Rogers Road.
According to investigators, a 23-year-old woman was dragged into a laneway and sexually assaulted. Police say the perpetrator indicated that he had a weapon but no weapon was seen.
Investigators were able to collect a DNA profile of the suspect following the assault but no match was found in the database.
The second incident occurred in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2017 near Birch and Second streets in Collingwood.
Police say a 17-year-old girl was pulled into a vehicle by a man and sexually assaulted.
Once again, a weapon was indicated but not actually seen.
Officers were later able to match DNA evidence gathered from this attack to the assault in Toronto two years earlier.
Investigators said the incident in Collingwood was “markedly more violent" than the previous attack.
The most recent sexual assault occurred last month on the weekend of the Honda Indy.
Police say a 28-year-old woman ordered a ride-sharing vehicle to pick her up the area of Lake Shore Boulevard, between Newfoundland Road and Strachan Avenue. When a vehicle pulled up beside her, she asked the driver if he was there to pick her up and he pretended to be her driver.
The man, police say, then drove the woman to a parking lot in a residential area near Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue and sexually assaulted her.
Investigators confirmed that death threats were made to the victim during the attack.
Police believe that the man sustained some type of injury to his eye during the assault.
Eye injury 'key' to catching him
He has been described by police as between 25 to 35 years old, with brown skin, and is approximately five-foot-five to five-foot-nine. Police say he has a small build and a thin beard. He is believed to have access to a four-door silver, grey, or black high-end vehicle.
“I believe he is escalating in violence,” Supt. Pauline Gray told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “Participate in getting this guy off the streets before he attacks another woman walking home.”
She said the injury he sustained to his eye may be the key to catching him.
"Turn your mind to those people who work in offices, ophthalmologist offices, urgent care clinics, somebody who is an intake worker at one of these places and remembers him coming in to seek some sort of care for his eye," she said.
She also urged anyone who may know someone who fits the description of the suspect to contact police.
"People who perpetrate this do not do it openly. It is not something they telegraph. It is not something document. It is not something that they tell their best friend. It is perfectly normal to be shocked and wonder, ‘How didn’t I know?’ But I implore upon them to not discount it. Don’t think, ‘Not him,'" Gray said.
"It can be anybody. It can be your next-door neighbour. It can unfortunately be your son. It can be your boyfriend."
Gray called the suspect’s attacks “opportunistic” and said she believes there are other victims who have not yet come forward.
“He is looking for young women walking on their own,” she said.
“We wanted to make people aware that this gentleman, and I use that term loosely, is out there.”