Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bus Groper Caught on Camera

Police are crediting a quick-thinking bus driver, Edmonton Transit’s new high-quality security cameras and the public for helping investigators collar a man suspected of groping a 12-year-old girl aboard a bus on New Year’s Day.

“That combination really set this investigation up for success,” said Det. Em Chan with the city police child protection section.

“This is how we wish all cases would come together.”

Last week, police released security-camera images of a man suspected of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl on a bus on Jan. 1.

“Because of the high-quality of the surveillance equipment, we had a series of great pictures and live recordings,” Chan said.

Several tips were provided to police. But one in particular helped break the case.

“It was a strong lead and that’s the one we focused on,” Chan added.

A dark-skinned man in his 20s was sitting on the Route 8 bus for an hour when the would-be victim boarded near 59 Street and 118 Avenue at 10:18 a.m. The man followed the girl to the back of the bus, sat next to her and touched her inappropriately.

While no passengers intervened, the “observant” bus driver did the right thing, Chan said.

The driver stopped the bus, advised transit controllers and confronted the man. But the man fled west on 118 Avenue.

The victim wasn’t injured physically, but was receiving counselling.

It was the latest in a series of recent assaults aboard ETS buses. Three transit drivers have been assaulted in unrelated incidents in the past six weeks.

Fortunately for police, there were five cameras on the bus in the New Year’s Day incident.

The man investigators finally arrested spent some time in Montreal before coming to Edmonton a couple years ago. He is due in court next month, Chan said. He was not previously known to police.

Ron Gabruck, director of safety and security for Edmonton Transit, said new buses are now equipped with five cameras each.

Abdurahman Dahir Yacin, 21, of Edmonton has been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference.