The RCMP has received more than 100 tips since it released a composite sketch of a man believed to have committed six sexual assaults on the University of British Columbia campus, with some of the leads being of "significant value."
"Now it gets down to grinding out the police work, and following up on the information, and hopefully getting some level of evidence," police spokesman Sergeant Peter Thiessen said in an interview.
The RCMP released the sketch at a news conference Tuesday and had received 57 tips by Wednesday. That number climbed to 105 on Thursday.
Sgt. Thiessen said some of the tips are significant when it comes to advancing the investigation.
The suspect is described as Caucasian with a slightly darker or olive skin tone, possibly tanned. He is believed to be in his mid-to-late 20s or 30s, and has a thin build. He stands somewhere between 5 feet 8 and 6 feet 2 inches tall and has short dark hair. He has a broad forehead and a long, round chin and face with a straight nose.
The search for the man under the hoodie has prompted the RCMP to put more officers on campus than at any other time in the university's 105-year history – from patrol and bicycle officers, to members of the emergency response team, to police dog handlers.
The RCMP's major crimes section took over the investigation on Oct. 21, after the third sex assault in as many weeks. Investigators then linked two earlier assaults – one in April, the other in May – to the same suspect. The sixth attack occurred on Oct. 27.
During Tuesday's news conference, Sgt. Thiessen pointed directly at the sketch and told reporters, "This is the man that we need to get into custody." He urged UBC students to continue to use every precaution when walking on campus.
The university called the release of the sketch an important development and said it would be distributed as broadly as possible, both online and at residences and other campus buildings.
University president Stephen Toope has said the size and isolation of the 400-hectare campus has complicated efforts to track the suspect down. A working group report on security is expected within a month and could lead to the installation of more surveillance cameras.
The university has posted security guards at six main residences, and has promoted a pair of safe-walk programs. But students have spoken openly about their uneasiness on campus and the sense they're not safe in their community while the attacker remains free.
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