Driver hit with bear spray in suspected hate crime in Oshawa

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Published April 23, 2024 at 12:52 pm

The Durham Regional Police Central East Division is at 77 Centre St. N. in Oshawa.

An unidentified suspect is wanted after he allegedly sprayed a driver with bear spray in what police believe was a hate crime.

The victim was sitting in his car in a parking lot by Gibb Street and Stevenson Road on March 21. The area is home to the Oshawa Centre, an LCBO and several large businesses. Durham police did not specify which of the areas many parking lots the man was in.

Shortly after 6 p.m., police say, a man approached the car and knocked on the window. When the driver rolled down the window to speak with the man, the suspect allegedly fired bear spray in his face while shouting racial slurs. Investigators did not specify the slurs or the victim’s ethnicity.

The suspect then took off from the area, leaving the victim with minor injuries. He is described as a 35 to 40-year-old white man with a thin build. He was wearing a black toque.

“The Durham Regional Police Service recognizes the impact that hate has on our community, and we are dedicated to investigating all occurrences of hate/bias-motivated crimes and hate/bias-motivated incidents,” police said.

Hate crime has been on the rise in the GTA in recent months with Toronto Police Chief Marvin Demkiw reporting a steep rise in hate crime since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7. More than half of these 989 reported crimes targeted the Jewish community, Demkiw told the police board back in March.

Anyone with information can call police at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 3011 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

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