Residents of Maple Ridge can rest easier now that an accused abductor has been arrested after a violent weekend attack.
Police arrested a 25-year-old man, “known to police,” at 10 p.m. Tuesday night in Vancouver, said Ridge Meadows RCMP Insp. Dave Fleugel.
The man is suspected in the kidnapping and beating of a 17-year-old girl who was accosted at gunpoint from Westgate Mall at about 8 p.m. Saturday and taken to a secluded location and beaten.
“Shortly after we released the suspect’s picture yesterday, we started to receive tips,” said Fleugel. “That allowed us to quickly identify and then locate the suspect.”
Fleugel does not believe the suspect is from Maple Ridge.
“First we were working with a Surrey address and then he was arrested in Vancouver, so I can’t confirm this,” the inspector explained.
Mounties are thanking the public for the valuable information they provided police.
“We heard from many people who recognized him. Plus, we even heard from a goldsmith who was familiar with that piece of jewellery,” Fleugel said about the images that were spread through the media, including an image of the cross that the victim ripped off her attacker’s neck.
“We all benefit when citizens are so engaged in working with police toward the safety of their communities,” he said.
At least five other women came forward saying they too were approached by a man in west Maple Ridge earlier that same day.
The news coverage brought valuable information to light, Fleugel added, including information from corrections officer and other police in the region.
All this feedback helped local police establish a time frame for Saturday’s attack, placing the man in the mall and the vicinity for several hours leading up to the attack.
The tips also led Mounties to uncover surveillance footage that helped in his identification and subsequent arrest.
The teenaged girl was approached outside her work at Westgate on Saturday, Jan. 19, by a man who said he needed help getting his car started.
Being a Good Samaritan, she agreed to help. Instead, she found herself at the end of a gun barrel being forced to drive her own car to a secluded area of town, not far from the abduction site.
She was physically assaulted and extensively beaten before managing to fight free of her abductor and ran to a nearby home, Fleugel said.
He fled in her car, which was recovered a short time later in the vicinity of Blackstock and 203rd streets.
The suspect will remain in police custody and was expected to go before a judge Wednesday or Thursday.
Anyone else with more information is asked to call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251, or to remain anonymous, they can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.solvecrime.ca.