Sexual predator threat under investigation

Police have warned a “sexual predator may be at large” after reports that a man attempted to take a 7-year-old girl from her own yard in West Bay, Saturday.

Two prior reports of a man behaving in a suspicious manner near children were also revealed by investigators Tuesday.

“We do not know that these incidents are linked, but the incident on Saturday is very serious and we must warn the community that we believe a sexual predator may be at large, mostly likely in West Bay,” said Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne.

“Children are the most vulnerable members of society and deserve everything we can do together to keep them safe, and our trained detectives in MASH [Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub] are ensuring all safeguarding measures are in place for the child involved.”

An investigative team has been established following Saturday’s report that a man attempted to take the child on Up the Hill Road.

According to police, the man took the child from the yard of her home. She strenuously resisted and was able to get away and find an adult. She was not injured.

The two previous reports of suspicious behavior did not include any allegations that children were approached or touched, police said.

One of the reports involved a man being seen inappropriately touching himself as he watched children in Dart Park on Feb. 8. The man left the location when he realized he had been spotted by adults, according to an earlier police press release.

The suspect in Saturday’s incident is described as being tall with dark brown skin and long yellow fingernails.

“Police are also urging parents and caregivers [to] be mindful where children are at all times when playing outdoors and travelling with them to public places,” an RCIPS statement read.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the West Bay Police Station at 949-3999.