A woman was sexually assaulted Tuesday night on a walking trail in Maple Ridge, B.C. — the same trail where another woman was attacked by a masked man earlier this month.
In Tuesday's incident, Ridge Meadows RCMP Sgt. Dale Somerville says a young woman was walking on the Vine Maple Trail, which runs east from the 10600 block of 240 Street to McClure Lane, in the Maple Crest sub-division.
Just after 5:00 p.m. PT, a man grabbed and sexually assaulted her, before fleeing. The woman managed to get to safety and was later treated at hospital.
"This is the second similar attack in the last few weeks in this same area," Somerville said in a written statement.
"At this time we cannot say that we are looking for one suspect, but there are some similarities in the two cases."
The suspect in Tuesday's incident is described as approximately six feet tall, wearing dark clothing with his face covered, similar to the description of the suspect in the earlier attack on the morning of Nov. 7.
In that incident, a woman in her 20s was walking on the same trail, near 240 Street and 106 Avenue in Maple Ridge, at around 9 a.m. when a man wearing a balaclava and black gloves grabbed her from behind.
The masked man undid some of the woman's clothing and fondled her before she was able to fight him off. A high school student also reported an encounter with a strange man earlier that morning, in the same area.
Somerville said the investigation "is a top priority right now" and added local investigators are in touch with other Lower Mainland police forces, in addition to the RCMP Behavioural Science Unit, to see if there are any links to other similar cases.
Ridge Meadows RCMP is also asking women in the area to try to walk in groups, when possible, and to refrain from wearing headphones and to remain aware of their surroundings.
"Carry a cellular phone, or anything that is capable of creating a loud noise, which is a good deterrent," Somerville said. "Report all suspicious persons to police as soon as possible, and we will respond."
Anyone with any information is asked to call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251, or to remain anonymous contact CrimeStoppers on 1 800 222-8477 or at www.solvecrime.ca.