Evidence seized

Forensic unit members and detectives take seized material from a home yesterday. A resident was arrested in connection with two sex assaults in north Etobicoke. (Photo: Jack Boland, SUN)

Mon, August 23, 2004

A MAN police believe to be the Summerlea Stalker will make his first appearance in court today, charged in connection with a string of violent sexual attacks over the past year in north Etobicoke . The suspect was arrested Saturday in front of his Sawmill Rd. home -- near Jane St. and Sheppard Ave. W. -- about 1 km east of Summerlea Park, where some of the attacks occurred.

Yesterday, about eight officers searched the suspect's home and emerged about 2 p.m. carrying bags and boxes full of material that was put in the back of a Toronto police forensic's van.

Moments later a man emerged from the house and, in a profanity-laden tirade, ordered reporters to leave.

Neighbours in the quiet North York neighbourhood were still stunned by the arrest yesterday.

They said they did not know the suspect well and were uncertain how long he had lived in the house and what his relationship was to the family that lives there.

Neighbour Stephen Hamid, who lives two doors from the suspect's residence, said he was surprised to see two plainclothes officers arrest a man on his street.

"I thought it was a joke," said Hamid, who was working on his car in his driveway. "When I turned around, I saw him in handcuffs."

Hamid said a tow truck came by later in the day and removed a black four-door Acura or Altima from the street that he said he believes was the suspect's car.

Another neighbour, Marianna Davero, said she is now "afraid to go outside" after witnessing the arrest.

In the most recent attack, which occurred Aug. 1, the Summerlea Park sex stalker forced a woman to drive to a nearby ABM machine before returning to the northeast Etobicoke park, near Albion Rd. and Elmhurst Ave., and sexually assaulting her.

"I hope this (arrest) puts people's minds at ease a little bit," Staff.-Insp. Bruce Smollet of the Toronto sex crimes unit said.

He said charges have been laid in only two of the five attacks that police have been investigating.

Floyd Johnson, 30, of Toronto faces two counts of kidnapping, four counts of robbery and two counts of sexual assault with a weapon in relation to two attacks in 2003 that occurred on May 5 in West Humber Park and Sept. 10 at Summerlea Park.

"We have not as yet laid charges in connection with the three other incidents that were part of the investigation and we are still pursuing it," Smollet said.