Shalendra Kumar Sharma has allegedly assaulted four different women from 1994 to 2011, and is being held in custody while police search for any other potential victims.
Sharma has been charged with four counts of sexual assault, four counts of confinement, two counts of assault, one count of kidnapping and one count of uttering threats.
His arrest was announced Monday as B.C.’s missing women’s inquiry shifted to a panel format to focus on failures in the investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton, reported CTV news.
Vancouver Police Department Supt. Rob Rothwell issued a statement Monday assuring that the officers investigating Sharma were concerned “first, last and always” for the safety of women in the DTES.
“Every member of our team was dedicated to ensuring that the mistakes of the past would never be repeated again,” Rothwell said.
Police say they’ve found nothing linking Sharma to Pickton, who targeted women in the east Vancouver neighbourhood in the 1990s.
The latest alleged incidents took place last December, beginning on the 4th when a woman came forward to say she was picked up in the DTES, taken to Burnaby and sexually assaulted.
Two weeks later, another assault was committed in Burnaby, which Vancouver police and Mounties linked to the prior incident with help from a sex crimes analyst.
In all four cases, the victims were sex-trade workers taken from the Downtown Eastside to South Burnaby where they were sexually assaulted. Police believe there may be more victims or witnesses.
Sharma, who works as a labourer in a manufacturing plant, was not known to police prior to these incidents, Critchley said.
Police have not released Sharma’s photo, saying he poses no threat to the public while in custody, but made public four photos of vehicles associated with him at different times, including:
A 2007 Ford Escape, red, from October 2006 to present
A 2003 Ford Explorer, blue, from January 2004 to February 2010
A 1997 Ford Explorer, red, from March 1999 to October 2006
A 1991 Pontiac Sunbird, red, from January 1994 to May 1997
Anyone who may have witnessed or been the victim of an assault, sexual assault or theft by someone driving the vehicles associated with Sharma is asked to call Burnaby RCMP, 604-294-7922, or to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Sharma appeared in court on Friday.