Toronto

Police release image of man after Muslim woman threatened on TTC bus

York Regional Police have released an image of a man who allegedly threatened a Muslim woman on a TTC bus in Vaughan.

York Regional Police say the woman was threatened in October but investigators have come up empty

York Regional Police have released this image of a man wanted in connection with an incident in Vaughan in October in which a Muslim woman was threatened on a TTC bus. (York Regional Police)

York Regional Police have released an image of a man who allegedly threatened a Muslim woman on a TTC bus in October in Vaughan.

Const. Andy Pattenden, spokesperson for the York Regional Police, said the man allegedly confronted the woman on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at about 4:20 p.m. while both were on the TTC's 107C Keele North bus northbound on Keele Street.

Pattenden told CBC Toronto on Monday that police released the image, obtained from the TTC, because investigators have exhausted all leads and have been unable to identify the man.

Threat is 'disturbing,' police say

"According to them, they've done everything they can to try to figure out who this is, with their investigative techniques, and they're coming up empty," Pattenden said. "Hopefully, somebody out there will know who this is."

Pattenden called the incident "disturbing."

Police said the man, who was not known to the woman, asked her if he could take a photo with her. She refused and the man began yelling at her.

"Quite frankly, this person was targeted with some very distasteful things and she felt threatened by what was said," he said.

​He said the man allegedly uttered threats and used language that threatened her and members of her family. Pattenden said the man allegedly "disparaged" Muslims and Islam. The man swore at the woman.

Language shows 'hate bias'

According to police, the language used by the man shows what police call "hate bias." That means, if the man is charged and convicted of uttering a threat, the "hate bias" element of the crime could be used by an Ontario judge to increase a sentence.

"These kinds of crimes not only hurt the community that has been targeted, but they hurt us all," the police said in a news release.

"We take great pride in being one of Canada's safest and most inclusive communities and we remain vigilant in our fight against prejudice, discrimination and hate in our community."

The man is described as between 30 to 37 years old, about five foot nine, with a heavy build. In the image, he is wearing what appears to be a toque on his head.

Anyone with information is urged to call York Regional Police investigators at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7441, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips, or leave an anonymous tip online at www.1800222tips.com or text a tip to CRIMES (274637) starting with the word YORK.