Surrey RCMP say a “person of interest” was taken into custody Friday afternoon after a man allegedly broke into a home and sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 16 in Surrey early Thursday morning.
“Just moments ago that person was taken into custody,” Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko told reporters at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Corporal Elenore Sturko provides an update: we can confirm a person of interest is in custody following yesterday’s sexual assault. Surrey RCMP's Special Victims Unit has conduct of the investigation. pic.twitter.com/HpMOW13gp6
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) April 6, 2018
“We are not releasing the name of that individual at this time as our investigation is ongoing,” she said. “We have also received several reports of attempted break-and-enters which occurred in the same area at the same time. Our investigators are working to determine if these events are linked to the same individual.”
“A photo from an attempted break-and-enter was provided to the media by a property owner,” Sturko said. “We are asking for the media’s cooperation at this time not to release that photo, or at least to please obscure the image of the individual. This is a dynamic and ongoing investigation and police have not yet interviewed all witnesses to these occurenced and as such there is potential to contaminate witnesses by releasing that photo at this time.”
|Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)|
She said that while police are “pleased” to have a “person of interest” in custody “we always encourage the public to use basic security measures such as keeping doors locked, keeping outside lights on and reporting suspicious occurrences.”
Sturko would not reveal the age of the alleged victim, except to say she was a minor under age 16.
“She is understably is shaken, as is her family,” she said.
RCMP say it happened at about 4 a.m. in the 10700 block of 132A Street. They say the man ran out the back door after being confronted by another resident of the house.
Police say the victim was not injured but is “understandably shaken.”
Asked what the difference is between a suspect and a “person of interest,” Sturko told the Now-Leader.
“I don’t exactly have a definition book but at this time we are calling it a person of interest. As our case develops we often change our terminology more toward suspect, suspect chargeable, those different things, but at this time we are calling it a person of interest. If there’s further updates and more information I can provide, I’ll give it to you at that time.”
Surrey RCMP say the suspect is described as a Caucasian or light-skinned Indigenous male in his 20s or 30s, who is about 5’5” to 5’6” tall and very thin, with short wavy black hair. He was wearing baggy blue jeans and a grey zip up hoody at the time of the offence. The suspect may also have facial injuries or markings.
The Surrey RCMP’s Special Victims Unit is investigating.
This comes just days after a woman was attacked and sexually assaulted after taking out the garbage Tuesday night in Aldergrove. The victim told Black Press she couldn’t provide a description of her attacker as she was unable to get a look at him.
However, on Thursday night, Surrey RCMP said in a release that the two incidents are not believed to be related, as the “descriptions of the suspects are different.”
Asked Friday morning why police believe the two cases are unrelated, Corporal Elenore Sturko said “when looking for linkages in crimes, investigators review many aspects of an incident, including descriptions, to determine if they are related or not.
“Based on the information available in this investigation, the two incidents are not believed to be linked,” Sturko told the Now-Leader. “This investigation is active and on-going, we won’t be releasing any further information at this time. If there are developments which we can share with the public we will do that at the earliest.”
Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
If they wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.