A suspect wanted in connection with a series of “violent” sexual assaults in Toronto and Collingwood over the past four years is now in police custody.
At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Toronto police Supt. Pauline Gray and OPP Det.-Insp. Darren Webster provided an update on a year-long multi-jurisdictional sexual assault investigation that has now culminated in the arrest of a suspect.
The first alleged assault occurred on July 28, 2015 at around 1 a.m. in the area of Dufferin Street and Rogers Road in Toronto. Police said a 23-year-old woman was approached from behind by a man, dragged into a laneway, and sexually assaulted.
The next sexual assault was reported in Collingwood on New Year’s Day, 2017.Police allege a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a man who pulled her into a vehicle near Birch and Second streets.
Months later, on March 2, 2017, a composite sketch was released of a suspect believed to be responsible for both sexual assaults. A tip line was also launched to collect information from the public.
Police allege the same man was responsible for another attack that occurred in Toronto on the night of July 15,2019.In that case, a 28-year-old woman mistakenly entered a vehicle thinking it was a ride-sharing one in the area of Lake Shore Boulevard, between Newfoundland Road and Strachan Avenue.
The driver allegedly took her to a parking lot near Eglinton Avenue West and Jane Street and sexually assaulted her.
The following month, a news conference was held by police where Gray appealed to the public for any new information in the case.
Gray said the suspect was “escalating in violence” and warned females about his “opportunistic attacks.”
Police say the fourth attack was reported nearly four months later in the early morning hours of Nov. 1.According to police, a 22-year-old woman had lost consciousness in the area of Polson and Cherry streets in Toronto and when she awoke, she was inside an unknown vehicle.
Police say she was driven to a parking lot, where she was sexually assaulted.
Police say 34-year-old Toronto resident Dipesh Patel is facing more than a dozen charges in connection with the case, including sexual assault, extortion, forcible confinement, robbery, sexual assault with a weapon, threatening death, and choking. Patel, who has no prior criminal record, is currently in custody awaiting a bail hearing.
“This gentleman, and I use that term loosely, was escalating in violence each and every time he was involved in asexual assault… He was learning how to be better at it. He was learning how to be more elusive so each one of those victims coming forward really were the step stones to getting him.” -CINEWS