British Columbia

Man arrested after woman 'victimized by sexual offender' for 30 minutes on SkyTrain

A woman who Transit Police say was "victimized by a sexual offender for over 30 minutes on the SkyTrain" helped police catch the suspect.

Woman followed suspect off train and called police

Police are crediting the quick thinking of a young woman for helping them catch a suspect in a sexual assault. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

A woman who Transit Police say was "victimized by a sexual offender for over 30 minutes on the SkyTrain" helped police catch the suspect.

The incident happened on May 23 around 4 p.m. PT after the woman boarded a train at King George Station in Surrey and sat down next to the window.

At the Surrey Central Station a man got on and sat down right next to her, even though the train was nearly empty, according to a statement issued by police spokeswoman Anne Drennan on Thursday morning. 

"He allegedly placed his hand on the woman's bare thigh and although she tried to move away and pushed at his arm, he continued to touch her for the duration of the trip to Burrard Station," said the statement.

"The young woman texted her mother but was too afraid of the man to do anything further."

Victim tracks suspect

Police say the sexual assault lasted for about 30 minutes.

Then — at the Burrard Station — both of them got off the train and the woman followed the man out of the station and watched him board a bus as she called Transit Police.

A 60-year-old Surrey man — who has record of similar sex offences — was arrested a short while later on a bus on Arbutus Street, said Drennan.

Police have recommended he be charged with sexual assault.

The suspect was released on a promise to appear in court in August, and under the condition that he not contact the woman or be on any SkyTrain or Canada Line property.

Investigators are crediting the quick thinking of the woman and the excellent suspect description she provided for the arrest.

'She did everything right'

Drennan praised the young woman's actions and said she did everything right.

"It was very traumatizing for her. She felt trapped up against the window and she tried to stop him, but he didn't stop. She was scared by what he might do if she did something more overt," she said.

Police recommend anyone travelling on transit add the Transit Police text number to their phones so they can alert police immediately without drawing attention to themselves.

"We encourage anyone who is a victim or witness to this type of behaviour to text us directly and discreetly at 87 77 77," she said.

"Everyone is texting all the time. You can text us in real time if you are being assaulted, and we can get officers to the next station."