At least seven incidents of suspicious individuals watching, approaching or grabbing youth, children or adults in Wellesley and Woolwich townships have been noted by the Waterloo Regional Police Services since last fall.
The most recent incidents were reported earlier this month.
On July 19, two females were followed by an unknown male in a vehicle. One was riding her bike, and the other was driving a horse and buggy. Both said they had been in the area of Lichty Road and Ament Line when they were approached. The suspect is described as a White male, between 30 and 40 years old, about 5’6” tall, with a heavy build, dark hair cut short to medium length and a slight accent.
Then, approximately a day later, a male youth was riding a bike on Line 86 between Listowel and Dorking, and was flagged down by a male driver of the same description as above. “The driver reportedly began asking questions before he attempted to grab the youth and pull the youth into his vehicle. The youth got away, and the unknown male fled in the vehicle,” police said in a release.
On May 24, at about 8:25 a.m., one suspect driving a black GMC pickup truck, described as a white male with a medium build, grey hair and wearing a black jacket, targeted a cyclist. This suspect made a U-turn so that he would be driving behind a cyclist who had been biking on the opposite side of the road. The suspect honked at the cyclist, who pulled over onto the shoulder to let the vehicle pass. “The vehicle then pulled over onto the shoulder behind the bicycle,” said a release from May. “The vehicle then drove past and left the area.”
On November 18, 2022, an unknown driver of a vehicle described as a black Mercedes Benz approached a group of children who were outside in the area of Lawrence Street and Berdux Place in Wellesley village and attempted to speak with them.
On November 15, between 8:40 and 9 a.m. at Hutchison Road and Ayrshire Lane, a black van was observed parked near a group of kids waiting for the bus. The driver did not approach or speak to the kids, but left once the bus arrived.
November 6, 2022, there was a report of a suspicious vehicle following a female youth in the area of Lichty Road and Schummer Line. The vehicle is described as a smaller, black, four-door car, possibly an older model. Schummer Line is one concession south of Ament Line down Lichty Road.
Additional anecdotal stories are also shared by members of the community on community Facebook groups.
Waterloo Regional Police spokesman Cst. Brad Hickey said police take such incidents seriously, and cautioned residents to be vigilant.
“WRPS encourages members of the public to immediately report any suspicious persons, vehicles or activity to them. The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers. Any new details will be published in an updated media release.”
Police are asking anyone with information to call 519-570-9777. Anonymous tips can be shared at 1-800- 222-8477 or www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.