Assault on transit bus leads to arrest
On January 23, at approximately 5:11 p.m., Elk Valley RCMP received a report from a concerned mother that her five-year-old daughter had been riding the BC Transit bus between Sparwood and Fernie that morning when she was approached by an unknown non-white man, that he was taking photos of her daughter and that he may have grabbed her arm in an attempt to get a better angle with his camera.
A second parent reported her children had witnessed the event as well. The bus driver was contacted and they indicated the man had not been seen on the bus before and that they would keep an eye out for him during the next day.
At 8 a.m. today, Elk Valley RCMP received a phone call from the BC Transit bus driver, stating the man was on the bus again and was travelling toward the Sparwood hospital.
The information received was that the man had actually grabbed the arm of a five-year-old girl the previous day, so police formed grounds to believe an offence had taken place. Police proceeded to the bus stop, where the transit bus was met and the driver identified the man involved.
RCMP officers entered the bus, located the man and arrested him for assault. The man complied with police direction, was safely handcuffed and led outside where the arrest procedure was completed. Other than his phone, no other items were located on his person, reported S/Sgt. Svend Nielsen, Elk Valley RCMP Detachment commander.
“As an aside, Elk Valley RCMP wish to set the record straight after noting the release of misinformation on social media that multiple weapons were found on the arrested suspect. No weapons were located and/or used during the alleged commission of this offence(s). Elk Valley RCMP caution anyone from manufacturing false information on an active police investigation, which may hinder the fact-finding efforts being completed by the investigators,” S/Sgt. Nielsen said.
The suspect was brought to RCMP cells in Sparwood and provided access to legal counsel. After conferring with the witnesses and their families, then completing thorough checks on the suspect’s history with police, the 25-year-old man was released on an undertaking with conditions related to the offence.
The conditions include having no contact with the victim, no access to the BC Transit system and no contact with anyone under the age of 14 years of age, unless at his work place or in the company of a youth family member.
The name of the suspect cannot be released as Crown Counsel has not yet approved a charge against the suspect.
The investigation is in its infancy and will take some time due to the age of the witnesses involved as well as other witnesses who may come forward. Elk Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance of anyone who witnessed an interaction between a non-white 25-year-old man and a youth on the BC Transit bus on January 23 between 8 and 8:30 a.m. while travelling between Sparwood and Fernie.
Anyone with information can contact the Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233 to speak with an officer, or they can report their information anonymously through BC Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). Please refer to file 2023-196.
Elk Valley RCMP will provide updates as this investigation moves forward when they are available.
Elk Valley RCMP file photo