Abbotsford Police have received a number of tips about the brazen sexual assault of a young woman on Thursday night, but Const. Ian MacDonald said the identity of the two suspects has not yet been uncovered.
“A lot of (the tips) have to do with the sighting of the vehicle … I think what has drawn people’s attention is that it had circled the block quite a few times … We’re still waiting for the phone call that says, ‘Hey, we know who these guys are.’ “
MacDonald said the 19-year-old victim was walking along the sidewalk in the area of Pauline and Homeview streets at about 7 p.m. , when she saw a newer-model white pickup truck pass her twice as she headed east toward a bus stop. Two South Asian men were in the vehicle.
As the woman approached the intersection of Pauline and Laurel streets, the passenger exited the truck, grabbed the woman and pushed her into the rear seat of the truck.
The driver parked the vehicle a short distance away and both men sexually assaulted her. She was then pushed out of the truck and onto the ground in a parking lot in the area of the 34000 block of Gladys Avenue.
MacDonald said the victim, who was severely traumatized, made her way home and did not disclose the incident until the next day.
He said she has been offered specialized victim assistance through Abbotsford Community Services.
Police believe the men either reside in Abbotsford or are familiar with the area. He said police do not believe the assault is linked to one on Dec. 18 that occurred when an 18-year-old girl was walking across a field on the east side of John Maclure elementary at about 8:15 p.m. In that incident, the girl was robbed by a thin South Asian man in his 20s who then groped her and attempted to force her into a sexual act.
MacDonald said there are distinct differences between the two assaults. He said the December incident was a “crime of opportunity,” while the one last week was “more like a hunting,” as the suspects circled the block looking for a victim.
The major crime unit is investigating the latest assault and is hoping for information from anyone who might have seen the men that day or on previous outings. MacDonald said it is likely they might have made other stops that night – perhaps at a gas station or restaurant.
The driver is described as a thin South Asian man in his late 20s, about 5’ 10”, clean shaven, with short black hair and wearing a dark jacket and blue T-shirt.
The passenger is described as a heavy-built South Asian man in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5’ 11” to six feet tall, with short dark hair, a full beard and wearing a yellow shirt, grey hoodie and tear-away track pants. Both men spoke Punjabi.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.