Santa Barbara sheriff warns of sexual predator on hiking trails

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a possible sexual predator on hiking trails, following two reported incidents of sex crimes against hikers in rural areas.

On Oct. 11, a male suspect accosted a female and threatened to sexually assault her on the Baron Ranch Trail. Then on Nov. 8, a male suspect sexually assaulted a female on the Aliso Trail, according to the sheriff’s office.

It is unclear whether the two incidents involved the same suspect. Both incidents occurred on rural trails that had very few hikers at the time. 

An investigation is ongoing, and anyone who has information about the case is asked to call sheriff’s detectives at (805) 681-4150.

Sheriff’s officials are encouraging hikers to go out with a companion on planned trips that end before sunset. Additionally, officials recommend hikers give detailed plans ahead of time to a trusted friend or family member and have a way to contact someone while on the trial. 

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