Prince George RCMP are on the lookout for a man after receiving a report of a woman jumping out of a moving vehicle early Friday morning, raising an eery parallel to an alleged incident near Hazelton a month ago.
Called to the area of 20th Avenue and Quince Street at about 4 a.m., police were told by the 30-year-old woman that while walking along Quince she accepted a ride from a man driving a burgundy minivan but shortly after she got in, he began striking her.
She opened the door and jumped out while it was moving at a slow speed, ran to a nearby convenience store and called RCMP.
Police said they are aware of the similarities with an alleged Dec. 24 incident near Hazelton, when a teenage girl told police she jumped out of a rolling red minivan to escape a bad ride.
In both cases, the suspect was described as heavy set or overweight, 40 to 50 years old with grey hair.
The suspect from the Prince George incident is further described as a smoker, dark around the eyes and with a thick, scruffy beard and wiry, thick hair and wearing a black toque.
The minivan was further described as having a pointy front end, a loud muffler and only one sliding door.
The suspect in the Dec. 24 incident was wearing dark brown glasses and a jean jacket , police were told. In that case, police have said the teen got into a red minivan in the Kispiox area, about 90 kilometres north of Smithers, at about noon but after a brief conversation she became uncomfortable and asked the man to let her out.
Instead, he continued driving away from her intended destination and the woman jumped from the van when the suspect slowed to cross a bridge. The man was last seen in the Hagwilget area on Highway 62, driving towards Highway 16.
RCMP are urging people, especially women, out walking after dark to be extremely vigilant and aware of their surroundings and not to accept rides from strangers.
For added safety, RCMP are also suggesting people walk in groups, always tell someone reliable where they are going and how long they will be and call back once the destination is reached.
And if approached, go to the nearest public area or business and call 911 immediately and if possible, take note of any physical description of the suspect and vehicle.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online at www.pgcrimestoppers.bc.ca (English only), or Text-A-Tip to CRIMES (274637) using keyword "pgtips."