Suspect arrested in string of violent attacks on women
Local Mounties believe they've caught the man responsible for a string of violent robberies that terrorized women in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and North Vancouver on Thursday.
And now they've found a North Vancouver cyclist who may have information they say could help put the 32-year-old suspect behind bars or set him free.
On Friday afternoon, officers with the Coquitlam RCMP's Prolific Offender Team, along with regular duty Mounties from both Surrey and Coquitlam, arrested a 32-year-old Surrey man in connection with Thursday's attacks, according to Cpl. Holly Marks, acting spokesperson for the Lower Mainland District Regional Police Service.
Marks said the suspect was arrested in Surrey but could not say exactly where other than that "he was not in a residence at the time."
Mounties in Coquitlam and North Van had issued an alert to women late Thursday afternoon after three sidewalk assaults — two in North Vancouver and one violent attack on an elderly Port Coquitlam woman at the corner of Patricia Avenue and Hastings Street that sent the victim to hospital to have stitches on her head.
Police said the same mugger may have struck again Thursday at around 10 p.m. when a woman was rear-ended while driving on Lansdowne Drive in Coquitlam.
When the woman pulled over to check her car for damage, she was attacked by the other driver in what police called a "particularly violent" attack that left the victim in hospital.
Cpl. Marks said that while she is pleased with the co-operation involved in arresting the suspect, the Mounties' investigation is still in its early stages.
"Quite frankly, this was excellent police work. Police were very concerned about these attacks — some of which were extremely violent," Marks said in a press release. "And we're very pleased that our efforts seemed to have paid off."
The suspect was before a Port Coquitlam provincial court judge Monday waiting to hear whether he would be released or held on charges.
The Mounties issued a public appeal for a cyclist who may have written down the licence plate of the attacker in the second North Vancouver assault to forward and provide that crucial information to police. At approximately 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the cyclist was nearly struck by the suspect vehicle as it ran a red light at the intersection of Seymour Boulevard and Mt. Seymour Parkway, shortly after the second North Vancouver attack. A witness saw the cyclist give chase after the vehicle and apparently catch up with and record the driver's licence plate information. Police say this information could be valuable in linking their suspect to the four assaults.
On Tuesday morning, police sent out a media advisory saying that the cyclist had come forward.
Anyone else who may have witnessed Thursday's incidents are asked to call North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311.