The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two aggravated assaults that happened near UC Santa Barbara — which police believe were perpetrated by the same suspect — and were reported less than 72 hours apart, according to a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon.
The Sheriff’s office is still currently searching for the suspect, who is described as a white male between 40 and 60 years old, with a height between 5’10” to 6’00” and a weight around 175 to 200 pounds. He also had “a dirty white beard, [was] wearing mussed clothing or dirty in appearance.” He may be driving an older, four-door gray car that looks “similar to a Chevy Volt.”
The first victim said her attacker “smelled heavily of alcohol”; the second said he smelled like marijuana.
As of Tuesday evening, he has not been apprehended.
The first assault occurred on Saturday afternoon around 12:30 p.m. along a creek near Phelps Road and Ocean Walk Lane, when the suspect grabbed a 22-year-old female jogger by the shoulder and arm “in an attempt to pull her closer to him,” according to an initial timely warning sent out by UCSB on Saturday.
The victim punched at the suspect in an attempt to break free, but the suspect then “grabbed the victim by her shoulders and punched her in the face,” according to the initial timely warning. She was able to break free and run back to her house.
The victim sustained “redness and swelling” to her face during the assault.
The second assault occurred Monday evening at approximately 10:30 p.m. An 18-year-old female was waiting for friends by her car in the Haskell’s Beach parking area in Goleta when she noticed a man sitting in a dark-colored vehicle nearby, according to the press release.
The man then approached her, placed his hand on her back and asked her if she was OK. He then “reached under the front of her shirt and sexually assaulted her,” according to the release.
The victim then “kicked at the suspect, striking him in the groin area.” She then ran to her friends for help, while the suspect fled to his vehicle and drove away.
The proximity of the attacks, similar suspect descriptions and similar locations, being “isolated areas near rural access,” led the Sheriff’s Office to believe the assaults were perpetrated by the same suspect.
Anyone with more information about the suspect can contact the department at (805) 681-4100 or submit an anonymous report here.
Katherine Swartz is an asst. news editor at the Daily Nexus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.