A 50-year-old man is facing several charges for allegedly violently sexually assaulting a woman who thought she was getting into taxi late one night in downtown Vancouver last month.

Stephen Lee Schienbein was arrested by police at his home in Surrey, B.C., yesterday. He has no criminal history of sexual assault, but has had many prior run-ins with police, including break and enter.

Police say they were tipped off by a witness who recognized the van, based on a description and security camera video released by investigators.

The alleged attack took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 12 after the victim, a North Vancouver woman whose identity remains protected, flagged down a minivan on the 100 block of Water Street in Gastown, thinking it was a cab.

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The North Vancouver woman was violently assaulted after getting into what she thought was a cab in Vancouver's Gastown area on Oct 12. (CBC)

The driver then allegedly took the woman to an area in East Vancouver, where she was allegedly beaten and sexually attacked, before she managed to escape and have someone nearby call 911.

Police later released a security camera video that appeared to show the suspect's vehicle, an older minivan with sliding doors on both sides.

On Friday, police said the woman was severely traumatized by the incident, but did not release other details about her condition.