Photo: West Vancouver Police Department
West Vancouver police say a man may have been stuck with a needle at the Park Royal shopping center on December 7, 2023. They are looking for that person of interest.
West Vancouver police are looking for tips after a “strange incident” at the Park Royal mall on Dec. 7 in which a customer fell ill after possibly being stuck with a needle by a stranger.
Investigators say the incident, captured on surveillance cameras, happened on December 7th. The video shows the victim standing next to a pillar when an unknown man squeezes past and makes contact with the victim's arm.
The next day, the man's arm became red and painful and he went to see a doctor, who raised concerns that he had been stuck with a needle.
“Since they don’t know what might have been in that needle or that needle, or exactly what he was pricked with, he has to take a cocktail of medications and have regular blood tests,” said the sergeant. Mark McLean, spokesman for the West Vancouver Police Department.
McLean said from the video it appears the victim was followed briefly before the incident and that it appears to have been deliberate.
While it may be the kind of thing that happens in spy novels, McLean said that's not how investigators see it and they don't believe the victim was targeted for anything specific.
“I don’t think we believe it had anything to do with a high-level assassination attempt or anything like that,” McLean said. “Obviously we are open to everything. We are more concerned that this is potentially a random act of violence.”
McLean said it's possible there is an innocent explanation for what happened, but for now, it's being treated as an assault investigation. Either way, they want to find whoever is responsible because the victim deserves peace of mind, McLean said.
“At this point, we just want to talk to this person and find out exactly what their intention was at that time and what kind of risk the victim was exposed to here,” he said.
The man in the video is described as having dark skin and a thin build. He wore glasses, a black and blue jacket, jeans, black and white running shoes and carried a green reusable shopping bag.
Anyone who recognizes the man in the surveillance footage is asked to contact West Vancouver Police at 604-925-7300 and quote file #23-15633.