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Police Arrest Man for Alleged Rape on Lower Eastside

Suspect's name turns up during investigation of similar assault patterns

Santa Barbara police Tuesday arrested a man on suspicion of rape and burglary.

Valentin Fonseca Velasco, 37, was taken into custody on charges that he broke into an apartment in the middle of the night and assaulted a woman. The charges stem from a Sunday incident when officers were called to the 500 block of North Quarantina Street to respond to an assault of a 29-year-old woman.

The woman told police she was awakened by the subject in her bed. She screamed for help, police said, and her boyfriend, who was elsewhere in the home, came to her aid, but not before she had already been raped. Her boyfriend struggled with the intruder but he was able to escape.

During the investigation, detectives brought up other cases in which a suspect had entered homes and assaulted women as they slept and Velasco’s name came up as a potential suspect, according to police. A felony warrant was already out on Velasco, charging him with sexual battery, aggravated trespass, battery, and annoying or molesting minors.

On Tuesday, detectives visited Velasco’s last known address in the 600 block of East Cota Street, but learned from residents he had not lived there for quite some time. One resident, however, said she worked at the same place as the suspect and agreed to make contact with him, police said.

Later Tuesday morning, police took Velasco into custody in the same block of East Cota Street. According to the police report, Velasco had injuries to his face consistent with someone who had been in a fight. Detectives are continuing their investigation.

Velasco was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of rape, penetration with a foreign object and burglary, as well for the felony warrant.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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