10/14/2013 03:44 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:00 EDT

Gastown Attack: Woman Beaten And Sexually Assaulted


Vancouver Police are warning the public to be on guard after a North Vancouver woman was reported as severely beaten and sexually assaulted by a fake taxi driver early Saturday morning.

On Oct. 12 at about 2 a.m., the 25-year-old woman hailed what she thought was a cab near Water and Abbott streets in Gastown and got inside, according to a release from the Vancouver Police Department. The driver allegedly took her to an area of East Vancouver and sexually assaulted her.

The woman said was able to escape her attacker, and with the help of a stranger, call 9-1-1.

We have spent quite some time with the victim, she’s very traumatized,” VPD Cst. Brian Montague told Global News. “Our investigators are working around the clock. We are working on additional information that we can’t share with the public, but we are really hoping someone recognizes the description of the van and this individual, and will give us a call.”

The suspect is described as "an Aboriginal man, approximately 35-39 years old and 5’11 to 6’0” tall," according to the VPD release. "He is fat with a big belly, about 230-250 pounds and a shaved head. The vehicle driven by the man is an older model dark minivan with sliding doors on both sides."

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact the Vancouver Police Sex Crimes Unit at 604-717-0602 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Another assault over the weekend

In further unsettling news, a 20-year-old female UBC student was sexually assaulted around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. She was returning to her residence when she was approached from behind by a man, according to another police release. The attacker, who emerged suddenly from a stairwell within the residence building, reportedly attempted to disrobe the woman while placing a hand under her skirt. She struggled and managed to break free, screaming and causing the man to flee. The woman was unharmed.

The suspect is described as "Caucasian, mid to late 20s," states the release. "He is approximately 5'10" with a medium build, and was wearing a dark hoodie."

Those with information regarding this incident are encouraged to contact the University RCMP at 604-224-1322 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. UBC RCMP is also reminding everyone walking on campus late at night to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.

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