Officials suspect assaults against two women in Goleta less than 72 hours apart may have been perpetrated by the same man.
The first incident was reported Aug. 10 about 12:45 p.m. while a 22-year-old woman was jogging on a dirt path along a creek near Phelps Road and Ocean Walk Lane, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
As the woman jogged, a man grabbed her by the arm and spun her closer to him. The victim was carrying her house keys in her hand and punched the man in an attempt to break free, officials said. The man then allegedly punched her in the face then released his grasp and the woman was able to get away and called 911. She suffered minor injuries, which officials described as redness and swelling to her face.
The assailant was described as a white man between 40 and 50 years old, with an average height and weight and had a “dirty brown-white” beard. Police said the man was wearing a black shirt and “smelled heavily of alcohol.”
The second assault occurred about 10:30 p.m. Monday when an 18-year-old woman was waiting for friends in her car parked at Haskell’s Beach, officials said. She noticed a man sitting in a dark-colored vehicle in the same lot. The man eventually got out of his car, approached her and asked if she was OK while placing his hand on her back, officials said. The man then allegedly reached under her shirt and sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to kick the suspect in the groin area and the man ran toward his vehicle and drove away. The victim ran to her friends and called for help.
The victim described the man as white, between 50 and 60 years old, of average height and weight with “darker” hair that went over his ears and forehead and a white beard. He was wearing jeans and a dark gray hoodie. Officials said the man smelled of “marijuana and dirt.” His vehicle was described as an older model 4-door compact, possibly dark gray.
Authorities believe the same man attacked both women based on similar suspect descriptions and similar locations, which officials described as “isolated areas near rural access.”
Anyone with information about the attacks or a the man describe is asked to call 911.