Pimp quizzed about missing prostitutes

A man arrested in Alberta faces charges in connection with sexual assaults in Vancouver.
Petti Fong Vancouver Sun

Barry Niedermier

A convicted pimp described as a person of interest in connection with missing prostitutes in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has been arrested in Lethbridge.

Barry Thomas Niedermier, 43, faces a string of charges in connection with brutal sexual assaults from 1995 to 1997 against seven prostitutes working in downtown Vancouver.

He has been charged with 14 counts of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, administering a noxious substance and unlawful confinement.

He will be transferred to Vancouver from Alberta this week after his arrest Friday by Lethbridge police and the Vancouver police task force investigating the disappearance of almost 30 prostitutes.

Sources have told The Vancouver Sun that Niedermier is also of interest to police in Edmonton and Calgary, where other prostitutes have gone missing. In Calgary, police have been investigating the disappearance of a number of prostitutes in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Vancouver police Constable Anne Drennan said Tuesday that Niedermier is the main suspect in the assaults against the seven prostitutes and continues to be a suspect in a number of other assaults in Vancouver, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Calgary.

"It was as part of the investigation into the missing women that information about Niedermier was received," said Drennan. "There has been no link identified with the missing prostitutes, but we would call him a person of interest and we will be wanting to speak to him at length about the missing women's file."

Thirty-one women, all of whom were at one time involved in drugs or the sex trade, have gone missing since 1978 from the Downtown Eastside. Last year, police found two of the missing women had died; one from heart problems, the other from a drug overdose.

Drennan said Niedermier, who was living in Vancouver in 1995-97, is well known to both Vancouver and Lethbridge police.

Currently unemployed, he was living with his mother in Lethbridge at the time of his arrest. In Vancouver, he owned a smoke and gift shop at 2949 Main St.

Ten years ago, in 1990, Niedermier was sentenced to 14 months in prison for being a pimp to a 14-year-old girl.

In that case, Niedermier, who was a customer of the girl in Calgary, brought the teenager to Vancouver.

Living in a grimy east-side room at the time, Niedermier put the teenager to work before a Vancouver police officer persuaded her to turn in her pimp.

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Updated: August 21, 2016