Toronto police say they have charged a man in connection with a multi-jurisdictional sexual assault investigation on Tuesday.
Supt. Pauline Gray of the sex crimes unit was joined by Det. Insp. Darren Webster of the OPP at a 1 p.m. news conference that took place at Toronto Police Service Headquarters.
Police have charged 34-year-old Dipesh Patel of Toronto in connection with four separate incidents — three in Toronto and one in Collingwood — dating back to 2015.
Investigators allege on July 28, 2015, at around 1 a.m., a 23-year-old woman was dragged by a man into a laneway and sexually assault in the Dufferin Street and Rogers Road area of Toronto.
They further allege that on Jan. 1, 2017, at approximately 1:20 a.m., a 17-year-old woman was pulled into a vehicle by a man and sexually assaulted in the Birch Street and Second Street area in Collingwood.
On March 2, 2018, investigators released a composite sketch of the suspect they believed to be involved in the incidents. A tip line was established.
Then, on July 15, 2019, at around 10:30 p.m. in the Eglinton Avenue West and Jane Street area of Toronto, a 28-year-old woman thought she was getting into a ride-share vehicle when the driver took her to a parking lot and sexually assaulted her.
The fourth incident took place in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2019. Police said a 22-year-old woman was taken from Rebel Nightclub at Polson Street and Cherry Street in Toronto to a parking lot and sexually assaulted her inside a vehicle.
It was the victim of this fourth incident who investigators said was able to recall the licence plate of the vehicle.
She called police and Gray said officers arrested Patel that same day.
Patel was charged with three counts of sexual assault, extortion, three counts of forcible confinement, two counts of robbery, two counts of sex assault with a weapon, assault with a weapon, two counts of threatening death, three counts of assault, using a firearm to commit an indictable offence, and two counts of choking.
Gray credited the victims for helping to provide investigators with information needed to make the arrest.
“[The victims] gave us points that moved us towards who we were looking at and in once instance, one of the victims was able to collect a licence plate,” Gray said.
Gray told reporters that investigators are not sure what Patel was allegedly doing in Collingwood on New Year’s Eve 2017 and are asking for anyone with information or who may have seen him to contact investigators.
“Turn your mind back. Bars, restaurants, there’s a lot of people in Collingwood on New Year’s Eve. I would ask you to turn your mind back to that to that time and see if you remember him being there,” she said. “It’s very important to us.”
Police said the suspect was escalating in violence with each alleged incident.
Investigators said Patel was put on house arrest but after he was connected to the other incidents, he was brought into custody again. Gray said he is in bail court at this time.
Police said if anyone has more information or if anyone recognizes the suspect to call investigators or contact yourchoice.to.