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Sex offender kept girls' underwear, police say

Aug 08 2012

A convicted sex offender arrested by West Shore RCMP late last month had a backpack full of women's and young girls' underwear, and police are investigating whether he stole them from homes or cars.

The arrest happened July 29, but police are making it public now in hopes people will come forward if they've noticed missing undergarments.

RCMP were called July 29 around 11 p.m. when a drunk man knocked on the door of a home in Metchosin, said West Shore RCMP spokesman Sgt. Max Fossum. The homeowner called police and West Shore Mounties found the man passed out in the men's bathroom near Witty's Lagoon.

He had with him a backpack containing about 20 pieces of used women's and girls' panties.

He told officers they were his, but investigators suspect he stole them from area beaches or possibly from people's homes or cars.

The Victoria man in his late 40s was arrested and released the next morning without charge, but the investigation continues.

Police are asking people to come forward if they believe their underwear has been stolen.

The man was convicted of a sexual assault on a youth more than a decade ago, which makes the behaviour more of a concern, Fossum said. Fossum would not release the exact date or location of the offence other than to say it happened on Vancouver Island.

Stolen underwear also played a role in the case of Russell Williams, a Canadian Forces colonel convicted of murdering two women and sexually assaulting two others.

Williams started out breaking into homes and taking pictures of himself in women's bras and underwear, keeping them as trophies. The behaviour eventually escalated to extreme violence.

Simon Fraser University lead criminologist Robert Gordon said it's not uncommon for men who steal women's underwear to masturbate, but keeping them as trophies is relatively unusual.

"The stealing of women's underwear is not rare, but the Williams-type cases are rare where they go to greater extremes in order to get sexual gratification," he said.

Fossum said the Metchosin incident will be recorded in the violent crime linkage analysis system, a Canada-wide database that helps investigators identify serial criminals by looking for commonalties among crimes.

Fossum would not give a description of the man, as police do not believe he's a risk to the public.

Anyone with information should call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264.

kderosa@timescolonist.com