The Vancouver Police Department issued a public warning after learning that a man approached a 13-year-old girl at English Bay Beach, engaged her in an inappropriate conversation and then flashed her.
VPD Const. Brian Montague says police believe the incident, which happened at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2nd, was sexually motivated.
Police say the girl was at the beach with friends, who left her momentarily to get some food. At that point, a man described around 40 years old came up to her and tried to engage her in conversation.
Police say he told her that he was born in Italy and recently got back from a trip there, and he tried to get the girl to tell him personal information about herself.
"It appears as though he was attempting to identify her, trying to find out her name, her address, where she lived, where she liked to hang out, where her friends were — lots of very personal questions, to try and almost befriend this 13-year-old," Montague said.
"The man made the young girl very uncomfortable and despite her efforts to ignore him, he continued with the inappropriate conversation. The suspect then exposed himself to the 13-year old," Montague said.
The girl fled and told a lifeguard what happened. Police were called and began a search of the area by foot, bike and car, but did not spot the suspect.
The Vancouver police department's sex crimes unit is asking more witnesses to come forward.
"It is a very busy area. That's one of the reasons we'd really like to have some phone calls. We think that there are people out there that have information that they can share. We think they may have witnessed it and not known what they were witnessing," Montague said.
Police say the suspect is described as:
- About 40 years old
- 5’8” tall, 190 lbs
- Short brown hair, brown eyes
- Tattoo on his left upper arm.
Police would also like to know about any similar incidents that have taken place.
"Generally speaking, it's safe to say that someone who is predatory like this, or targeting someone like this: It's probably not the first time he's done this, and probably not the last," Montague said.