British Columbia

Alleged sex predator faces charges for Vancouver assaults

An alleged sexual predator is facing 12 charges over the confinement and beating of prostitutes from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Police release images of 4 vehicles associated with 43-year-old Surrey man.

Arrest in sexual assaults

10 years ago
Duration 2:29
A Surrey, B.C., man faces 12 charges in connection with assaults between 1994 and 2011

An alleged sexual predator is facing 12 charges over the confinement and beating of prostitutes from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Shalendra Kumar Sharma, 43, of Surrey, B.C., is facing four charges of sexual assault, four charges of confining the women, two charges of assault, one charge of kidnapping and one charge of uttering threats in incidents dating back nearly two decades.

The charges are tied to incidents in 1994, 1997 and 2001, and both the RCMP and Vancouver police say they are checking files going back to the 1990s to determine if Sharma can be linked to other assaults.

Police say these four vehicles belonged to Shalendra Kumar Sharma and are asking anyone with information to come forward. (RCMP)

Police allege Sharma targeted prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside and took them back to Burnaby, where he assaulted them.

They say the investigation began on Dec. 4, 2011, when Burnaby RCMP learned of a possible robbery and sexual assault against a woman who was taken from the Downtown Eastside.

The RCMP contacted Vancouver police to help in the search for a suspect and police notified women in the neighbourhood about the incidents.

"Both police agencies recognized the danger to women — particularly those in the high-risk category he appeared to be targeting, and we took immediate action to get safety messaging out to the women," said Chief Supt. Dave Critchley.

On Dec. 18 a second assault occurred, which police linked to the first incident.Vancouver police then used a sex crimes analyst to link key evidence, leading to the arrest, said police.

Photographs of four vehicles associated with Sharma have been released by police and outreach officers are encouraging residents of the Downtown Eastside to come forward with more information.

In order to protect the investigation, police are not yet releasing pictures or a description of Sharma himself. 

Suspect's vehicle list

  • 2007 red Ford Escape, October 2006 to present.
  • 2003 blue Ford Explorer, January 2004 to February 2010.
  • 1997 red Ford Explorer, March 1999 to October 2006.
  • 1991 red Pontiac Sunbird, January 1994 to May 1997.

Police said that Sharma, who worked at a manufacturing plant, did not have a prior record.

News of the arrest comes as both the Vancouver police and the region's RCMP continue to face criticism of their mishandling of the Pickton investigation at the Missing Women Inquiry underway in Vancouver.

Part of the failure of police to capture serial killer Robert Pickton before 2002 has been attributed to a failure to share information between police and the RCMP.

Pickton was eventually convicted of killing six women from the Downtown Eastside at his Coquitlam pig farm.