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2018 Annual Report: Community Helps Catch Thornhill Predator

Posted on Tuesday July 23, 2019
#2 District Investigator
Investigators took hold of the investigation after they noticed a disturbing trend

Frontline officer identifies suspect on the street

During any given month, Detective Constable Jamie Kolarsky might have a dozen cases come across her desk in the #2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau — Persons Crime Section. But any case involving child victims quickly gets shuffled to the top of the pile.

“This one stood out to me right away,” she said. “We wanted to close this case to assure the families of these children that they could enjoy their community without the threat of being harassed.”

On February 24, a man in his 20s sat down on a bench next to a young child at the Thornhill Community Centre. The man began asking him personal questions about his family and school, but left before anyone else noticed him.

The following afternoon, only a few blocks away, a man with the same description exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl walking her dog in Markham, near Yonge and John Streets. Minutes later, he exposed himself again to a pair of women near a forested area down the street, before fleeing in a Toyota sedan.

The women were able to read the last three digits of the license plate before the car sped away.

“We noticed a trend of disturbing behaviour and were concerned for the safety of residents in that community,” said Detective Constable Kolarsky.

The trend continued for the third straight day when, on February 26, he exposed himself to another female victim at a cemetery near Yonge and John Streets.

Less than a week later, on March 1, the suspect watched from afar as the child he met at the community centre played basketball after school. When he was approached by a parent, the suspect left without speaking to the victim.

Officers in uniform and in plain clothes increased foot and vehicle patrols in the neighbourhood and investigators finally got their break on March 13, thanks to the work of an observant uniform officer.

When he arrived at an apartment near John Street and Bayview Avenue to take a report from another victim, the officer watched as a Toyota sedan pulled up to a house across the street. The last three digits on the license plate matched the victim’s report from two weeks earlier.

“It was a great relief,” said Detective Constable Kolarsky. “We did increased patrols, but if it wasn't for that diligent officer, we still might be talking to more victims.”

Two days later, Kolarsky and her partners arrested the suspect, a 20-year-old Markham man, while he was walking down the street from the Thornhill Community Centre. He was charged with Criminal Harassment x2, Indecent Act x4 and Exposure to a Person Under Age of 16.

“It was of utmost importance to identify and arrest this suspect,” said Detective Sergeant Heather McVicar. “This was a good example of our detectives working together with frontline officers,” she said.

“As a team, they brought this investigation to a successful conclusion.”

Read the rest of the 2018 Annual Report

Want to know how else York Regional Police made a difference in its community last year? Read our 2018 annual report.