Vancouver investigators seek to identify male suspect in random assault on female dog walker

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      A seemingly random assault on a female dog walker has raised concerns as investigators ask for help in identifying and locating the male suspect involved.

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) announced today (March 18) that a male suspect allegedly assaulted a female stranger for no apparent reason in Downtown Vancouver earlier this year.

      According to the VPD, a 22-year-old woman was walking a dog around 4:20 p.m. on January 19 near the Orpheum Theatre, at Seymour and Smithe streets.

      For no discernible reason, a male stranger punched her in the face.

      The VPD stated that although the victim was traumatized, she did not sustain any serious physical injuries.

      “This incident is very concerning to us, as it appears to have been random and completely unprovoked,” VPD spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison stated in a news release. “We don’t know why this woman was targeted, or what the suspect’s motivation was.”

      After the assault, the suspect fled and was briefly confronted by a witness.

      Sgt. Addison said that investigators have been working since January to identify the suspect but haven’t been able to do so.

      Consequently, the VPD released this surveillance footage of the individual (who is shown walking beside another man).

      The suspect is described as a white male who is about 178 centimetres (five-feet, 10-inches) tall and appears to be about 50 years old. He has short white hair, and was wearing a light blue jacket or sweater and jeans at the time of the assault.

      When asked at a news conference today if the attack was a hate crime, Sgt. Addison stated that they haven’t ruled anything out and that he doesn’t know the racial identity of the victim.

      Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the VPD 604-717-4021 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.