Port Alberni RCMP are investigating two unrelated assaults—including a sexual assault—on women that occurred in the early-morning hours of Jan. 25-26. Both women were attacked by strangers.
On Saturday, Jan. 25 between 4 and 5 a.m., a woman walking along Third Avenue near Dunbar Street was allegedly grabbed by two men and money demanded from her. As she raised her hands in defense, one of the suspects bit her hand, Port Alberni RCMP media liaison Cpl. Amelia Hayden said.
The woman fought off her assaulters and ran away, going to West Coast General Hospital for treatment before she called police. Because of a time delay in reporting the incident, police patrols in the area were unable to locate her assailants, Hayden said.
The suspects are described as Caucasian men with scruffy beards, about 5’6 tall and wearing hoodies. One of the suspects was wearing red pajama pants, had a thin build, bad acne and possibly spoke with a lisp.
On Sunday, Jan. 26 at approximately 5:45 a.m., a woman was retrieving some items from her vehicle parked in the Echo Village parking lot located at 4200 10th Ave. when an unknown man came out of the nearby woods and grabbed her from behind, sexually assaulting her. She yelled and fought him off. The suspect fled into the small recreational wooded area which has walking paths in and out. Although understandably upset and shaken by the attack, the woman was not physically injured during the incident.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian man, 5’10, unshaven, wearing dark clothing and having a strong fishy odor about him.
All available police resources were deployed to the area and extensive patrols made, unfortunately the suspect was not located and to date remains unidentified.
“These are very serious incidents and a frightening event for anyone to experience. These women did the right thing by yelling out and fighting off their attackers and reporting to police as soon as they were able,” Hayden said.
“At this time there is nothing to suggest that these two incidents are in any way related. In the meantime, we are reminding residents to remain aware and alert of their surroundings and people around them and to report suspicious activity.”
Police are canvassing area businesses and residences in an effort to locate witnesses and video footage. They are asking for people living in the surrounding areas of the assaults to check their security or dash cam videos for footage of the incidents or suspicious people.
Anyone who witnessed either of these crimes or who has information on those responsible is asked to contact the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.