Police announced Friday afternoon that Gregory Joseph Nerlinger, 37, was charged with five counts of committing an indecent act for incidents that occurred between Oct. 6, 2010, and Jan. 28.
Police, however, indicate that their investigation dates back much further, saying that since 2006 there have been 14 documented cases of indecent acts that targeted lone female victims at bus stops, including some in the Baron Road area.
In each case, a man would find a young woman—they ranged in age from 15 to 41—who was alone at a transit stop at night and “deliberately” expose his genitals to the women, sometimes even masturbating in front of the woman.
In 2009, the Kelowna RCMP General Investigation Section began working on the case after it became “apparent that there were similarities between several of the incidents that set them apart from other indecent act incidents that had been reported,” said Const. Steve Holmes.
Investigators turned to the RCMP’s behavioural sciences section to help further the investigation, but the turning point came in December.
That’s when a transit driver, who picked up a woman who had allegedly just been victimized, ran after the suspect and took down the licence plate number of the vehicle he drove away in.
After receiving that information, detectives re-interviewed witnesses, conducted photo lineups and surveillance and prepared a report to Crown counsel.
Crown counsel recently approved five counts of committing an indecent act, all which occurred in the past five months, and a warrant of arrest was issued for Nerlinger.
Police say five counts were approved because the charge is considered a summary conviction-type offence, meaning that incidents must come before the courts within six months of occurrence if they are to be prosecuted.
However, Holmes says it “is a strong possibility” that all 14 offences, dating back to 2006, were committed by the same person.
Police say Nerlinger was arrested on the five charges at work around noon on Thursday and was held to appear in court on Friday.
Court records indicated he was granted bail on Friday and must abide by a number of conditions.
He may not be within 25 metres of a bus stop unless with an approved adult nor have any contact with any of his alleged victims.
He must also be in his home from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Nerlinger is expected to appear in court again on Monday afternoon.