A man was arrested by Elk Valley RCMP and released with conditions after an alleged assault on a transit bus involving the suspect and a young girl on Monday (Jan. 23).
A five-year-old girl was riding a transit bus between Sparwood and Fernie on Jan. 23, when she was approached by an unknown man who allegedly grabbed her arm to get a better camera angle while taking photos of her, according to a police report filed by the girl’s mother.
Elk Valley RCMP say a second parent reported her children witnessed the event as well, and the bus driver was contacted and asked to keep an eye out for the suspect, who had not been seen on the bus before.
The next day (Jan. 24), the bus driver called RCMP after the man entered the bus while travelling toward the Sparwood Hospital. Police then arrested the suspect inside the bus at a transit stop.
Police said they conferred with witnesses and their family members, and completed checks on the suspect’s history before releasing him on an undertaking with conditions.
Those conditions include no contact with the victim, no access to the BC Transit system, and no contact with anyone under 14 years of age unless at his area of work in the company of a youth family member.
As Crown counsel hasn’t yet approved a criminal charge, the suspect’s name cannot be publicly released.
Elk Valley RCMP are also clarifying that no weapons were found on the suspect or used during the offence, following “misinformation” posted on social media.
Police add that the investigation is in its infancy and will take time due to the age of the witnesses involved as well as other witnesses who may come forward.
Elk Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance of anyone who witnessed an interaction between the 25-year-old man and a youth on the BC Transit bus between 8 and 8:30 a.m. while travelling between Sparwood and Fernie.
Anyone with information can contact the Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233 to speak with an officer, or they can report their information anonymously through BC Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). Police ask anyone who reaches out to refer to file 2023-196.