Nanaimo RCMP are warning the public as they hunt for a suspect in an indecent act that occurred at Westwood Lake early Wednesday evening.
Police say that at approximately 6 p.m. on September 2 an adult male exposed himself to a 9-year-old young girl who was walking the trail with her siblings and father.
Officers responded to the scene and spoke with the girl and her father. They say that the girl was walking about 100 metres behind her family when the suspect emerged from some bushes and exposed himself.
The suspect said a few words to the girl and left the area. The girl ran to her father who went back up the trail to where the suspect was seen but was unable to locate him.
Police searched the area for over an hour and spoke with people on scene but say there were no further sightings of the suspect.
He is described as between 35 to 40 years old, of unknown ethnicity, wearing a blue surgical mask, a black hat with white lettering, and a green shirt.
“Westwood Lake is undoubtedly the most popular park in the City of Nanaimo,” said Cst. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
“It is used by hundreds on a daily basis for swimming, hiking and cycling, and like other parks and trails throughout Nanaimo, it is extremely safe. Unfortunately, incidents like the one reported do occasionally occur.”
The Nanaimo RCMP offered the following safety tips for anyone who experiences a similar incident:
- Remove yourself from the incident
- Do not engage with the individual
- Report the incident immediately to the police
- Walk in groups or with a buddy and carry a phone with you
- If wearing earbuds, modify the volume so you can hear if someone is approaching or consider wearing only one earbud
- Try to recall in as much detail as possible of the incident and of the person involved
Police are asking that anyone with information about the indecent exposure at Westwood Lake contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file #2020-32203.