A Nanaimo man is facing one count of sexual assault after a woman reported she was grabbed around the neck and groped by a stranger.
The woman broke free of the man and posted a picture of him to social media, prompting a flurry of tips that led to the suspect’s arrest less than 90 minutes later, according to police.
The assault happened around 1:20 p.m. Monday outside 55 Victoria Rd. in downtown Nanaimo.
The 27-year-old victim told police she was returning to work when a man approached her from behind, grabbed her around the neck and then groped her, the Nanaimo RCMP said in a statement Tuesday.
The woman broke free of the man and ran to her workplace while a coworker took a picture of the suspect as he was running away.
The victim called 911 and then posted the image of the man online.
Several police officers responded to the scene and searched for the man while tips began flooding in as a result of the social media post.
“This information was shared with police and resulted in the suspect being located at a nearby home and arrested without incident,” the Nanaimo RCMP said.
“The victim in this incident did everything correct,” Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien said.
“She fought back, she made noise, she told someone and reported the incident to the police. Then, by using her phone, a picture of the suspect was shared across social media, which ultimately led to his timely arrest.”
Brett Ranger, 35, of no fixed address, was held in police custody and appeared in Nanaimo provincial court on Tuesday.
He is charged with one count of sexual assault and is expected to remain in custody until his next court appearance on April 4.