Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man suspected of assaulting two women over the last week in Goleta.
The suspect allegedly punched one of the women in the face during an assault. The suspect then sexually assaulted another woman during an attack that occurred fewer than 72 hours later.
At about 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, a 22-year-old woman was jogging on a dirt path along a creek in the area of Phelps Road and Ocean Walk Lane. A man grabbed the woman by her arm and spun her around toward him, according to the sheriff’s office.
While grabbing her arm and shoulder, the man tried to pull the woman closer to him. The woman, who was carrying her house keys, punched at the man and attempted to break free.
The attacker responded by punching the woman in the face. He then released his grasp on her.
The victim managed to escape to her nearby home, where she called 911. She only sustained a minor injury, redness and swelling to her face, as a result of the assault.
The woman described the suspect as a white man, 40 to 50 years old, of average height and weight and sporting a dirty brown-white beard. The man was wearing a black shirt and smelled heavily of alcohol.
On Monday, at about 10:30 p.m., an 18-year-old woman was sitting near her vehicle, which was parked in the Haskell’s Beach parking area. The teen was waiting for her friends when she noticed a man sitting in a dark colored vehicle in the same parking lot.
The man exited his car and approached the woman, asking her if she was okay. The suspect placed his hand on the teen’s back as he spoke.
He then reached under the front of her shirt and sexually assaulted her. The victim kicked the suspect, striking him in the groin area.
The man fled to his vehicle and drove away as the victim ran toward her friends to call for help.
Sheriff’s officials say the teenage victim described the suspect as a 50-60-year-old white man of average height and weight, darker hair that flowed over his ears and forehead and a white beard. He was wearing blue jeans and a dark grey hoodie and smelled of marijuana and dirt.
The suspect’s vehicle was described as an older model, four-door compact car that was similar to a Chevy Volt and possibly dark grey.
Investigators believe the same suspect committed both of the assaults since they occurred in close proximity and in relatively similar locations — isolated areas near rural access. Also, the victims provided similar descriptions of the suspect.