On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 17 an officer with the Thunder Bay Police Service’s Uniform Patrol Branch took a report of an attempted abduction that was said to have taken place in the evening hours of Monday, Sept. 16.
The 29-year-old female complainant called 911 to report two men in a vehicle attempted to abduct her on the Tuesday evening. In her statement she said she was walking eastbound on Red River Road heading toward the Clarkson Street bus stop when an SUV pulled up near her and near the sidewalk.
She told police males from the vehicle asked if she wanted a ride, and when she refused they exited the vehicle in an attempt to aggressively insist she accept their offer. She also told police she eventually caught a bus at the Clarkson Street stop, at which point she noticed the men in the SUV follow her to her destination.
The investigation became a major case for the Criminal Investigations Branch. As part of that investigation an appeal was made to the public for witnesses or anyone with video in the area to come forward.
Following the thorough collection and examination of evidence, which included video footage in the areas where the alleged incident was said to have taken place, investigators were able to determine the statement provided to police was false.
As a result officers formally charged a 29-year-old Thunder Bay woman with Public Mischief in the evening hours of Friday, Sept. 20. She was given a promise to appear with a future court date.
The Thunder Bay Police Service would like to remind the public that false reports can be subject to criminal charges. Cases of attempted abduction are taken seriously and such investigations can be a significant drain on police investigative resources.
In this particular case the 911 call was made during a time when officers were dealing with a high call volume.
The police service is also asking the public to be cautious and consider avoiding sharing claims on social media that are unverified by official sources. Personal accounts online may contain false or embellished facts, which can lead to unnecessary panic within the community.
The Thunder Bay Police Service is requesting public assistance as investigators continue to look into the circumstances surrounding an attempted abduction.
The incident took place shortly after 7:30 p.m. after the victim left the Circle K on Red River Road. The female victim was walking eastbound on Red River Road and heading toward the bus stop at Clarkson Street.
As the victim neared the Kentucky Fried Chicken a motor vehicle – a darker, newer-model SUV – pulled up near her and near the sidewalk. The driver of the SUV spoke to the victim from a rolled-down window and asked if she needed a ride.
She declined the offer and continued to walk toward the bus stop.
After declining the victim says the driver and one passenger of the vehicle exited the SUV, approached her and began insisting she accept their offer for a ride. She continued to decline their offers and said she would call police if they refused to leave her alone. The males then returned to their vehicle.
The victim continued to walk to her bus stop, caught a bus and remained on that bus as she continued to her destination heading toward Victoria Avenue East.
During her bus ride the victim noticed the same dark SUV, which now appeared to be following the bus she was on. When the bus stopped to let passengers off the victim noticed the dark-coloured SUV driving by, circling around before following the bus again.
The vehicle was last seen driving onto Ford Street.
The driver is described as a Black male standing about 6’3” tall and weighing about 250 pounds. The passenger who approached the woman with the driver is described as a Black male with a thin mustache standing about 6’5” tall and weighing about 230 pounds.
Investigators with the Thunder Bay Police Service’s Criminal Investigations Branch are now reaching out to anyone who may have witnessed this incident on Red River Road near the Clarkson Street bus stop. There was a significant number of motorists and pedestrians in the area as the suspects interacted with the victim.
Anyone who may have video footage of the incident, or of a suspicious dark-coloured newer model SUV following a bus between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. from Red River Road to Victoria Avenue East, is urged to contact police.
Call the Thunder Bay Police Service at 684-1200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online www.p3tips.com