Sex assault suspect targeting ‘distracted’ women
York Regional Police are searching for a suspect who it says is involved in four sexual assaults in Newmarket. He appears to be targeting small-statured, thin women who are distracted by their cellphones or listening to music through headphones. The same man is connected to four assaults that happened in August and September.
The first occurred on Aug.18 at 5 p.m. near the Upper Canada Mall parking lot. Police said a 19-year-old was walking along a pathway near the north fence, and passed a man near Gail Parks Crescent. The man turned around, ran up behind the victim and grabbed her buttocks, investigators said. He then fled eastbound. Two incidents occurred on Sept. 8 in the same area. Police said a 34-year-old was walking along a sidewalk in the mall parking lot, typing a text message on her phone. A man came up behind her, grabbed her buttocks and fled. Later that same afternoon, a 17-year-old was walking north from the mall, in a subdivision on Gail Parks Crescent. A man in a hooded sweatshirt approached her, grabbed her buttocks then ran away. And last Friday, an 18-year-old was approached by a man at approximately 9:25 a.m. The victim was walking along Aspenwood Drive, when she was pushed to the ground. The man then tried to remove her clothing, but was stopped by a passerby. He then ran away.
The suspect has been described as white, 5-foot-5-inch, and between the ages of 20 and 25.
York Regional Police warned the public to use “extra caution” and be aware of their surroundings. Anyone with more information is asked to contact investigators at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7071, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).