Burnaby RCMP are warning women and the general public about a man recently released from custody, whom police consider dangerous.
Surrey resident Shalendra Kumar Sharma, 43, was released from custody on Wednesday, May 9 and is awaiting trial for sexual assault and other violent crimes against women. Sharma is considered dangerous, and police are urging people to use "extreme caution" should they run into him.
Sharma was recently charged with four counts of sexually assaulting four different women, from 1994 to 2011. He is also charged with four counts of confining the women and one count of kidnapping. In the two incidents from 2011, Sharma is also charged with two counts of assault and one count of uttering threats.
When asked why Sharma was released if he's considered so dangerous, Insp. Tim Shields with the Burnaby RCMP said it was a decision made by the courts. Shields also said Sharma's release was subject to a number of conditions: he has a curfew and is ordered to stay out of Vancouver.
According to Shields, Sharma was allegedly picking up female prostitutes in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and bringing them to Burnaby, where he allegedly sexually assault them.
"We don't have any information to lead us to believe that women in his neighbourhood or women at his work are in danger, based on his pattern of behaviour," Shields said.
The Burnaby RCMP worked with the Vancouver Police Department after learning of a possible sexual assault and robbery against a woman taken from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to Burnaby on Dec. 4, 2011. A second assault happened in Burnaby on Dec. 18, 2011 that police believed was linked to the Dec. 4 assault.
Burnaby RCMP and Vancouver Police Department investigators worked together, cross-referencing police databases, and a VPD sex-crimes analyst allowed pieces of the puzzle to be linked together across multiple jurisdictions, a press release notes.
Vancouver and Burnaby police are turning their attention to past files, dating back to the 1990s, and are releasing information about four vehicles linked to Sharma: a 2007 red Ford Escape with license plate 008-RWG for October 2006 to present, a 2003 blue Ford Explorer for the period January 2004 to February 2010, a 1997 red Ford Explorer for the period March 1999 to October 2006, and a 1991 red Pontiac Sunbird for the period January 1994 to May 1997. Police are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed or been the subject of an assault, sexual assault or theft associated to one of the four vehicles or involving Sharma. Call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
"We know statistically speaking, the majority of sex-related crimes go unreported to police. With that in mind, we believe it's very likely additional victims have not yet come forward," Shields said.