Police probe overnight break and enters in south Etobicoke
Toronto police are trying to catch a male suspect who broke into six houses in a west-end neighbourhood overnight and sexually assaulted residents in some cases.
Police say the break-ins occurred between midnight and 5 a.m. Theft occurred in some cases.
Insp. Gerry Cashman told reporters Tuesday that the incidents occurred in an area bounded by Bloor Street West, Islington Avenue, The Queensway and the Humber River.
Details are sketchy on the suspect, who is described as a six-foot male with a slim build.
Cashman would not say how many sexual assaults occurred overnight. But he said nobody was hospitalized.
CBC News has learned that one victim was a 91-year-old woman, who woke up to find an intruder in her bedroom at about 4 a.m.
She contacted a third-party through a personal safety device, which her family believes prompted the intruder to leave.
Cashman encouraged people living in the area to check on elderly residents and ensure their homes are secure.
"We’re not trying to create a panic here, all we’re trying to do is make sure that people are safe," Cashman said.
Area resident Murray Winthorpe said he would follow the advice of police.
"I'm definitely going to continue to lock my house and the doors and tell the neighbours as well," Winthorpe told CBC News.
Police are also asking any residents with security cameras to review any overnight footage and to report anything suspicious.
Cashman said police flooded the area with officers overnight when the calls about the break and enters started coming in.
Residents told the CBC's Jermaine Hylton that they heard a police helicopter circling the area at about 4 a.m., while police officers scoured the neighbourhood and combed through backyards as they searched for a suspect.
The overnight incidents occurred less than two weeks after three sexual assaults in the same area, which involved women being attacked inside their homes.
But police have not confirmed that those attacks are connected to the events overnight.