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Police Investigating String of Reported Sexual Assaults in Goleta

It's the fourth similar incident within a mile radius reported in the past 11 months

Goleta police are investigating a reported sexual assault at an apartment complex over the weekend, the fourth such incident within a mile radius within the past 11 months.

Sketch of suspect in Sept. 10, 2010, incident.
Sketch of suspect in Sept. 10, 2010, incident. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

In the most recent incident, officers responded about 3:15 a.m. Saturday to the Sumida Gardens Apartments in the 100 block of Sumida Gardens Lane, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars.

He said the female resident told police that a man broke into her apartment while she slept and attacked her after a strange sound startled her awake. The woman said the man was wearing a hood and fled when she screamed for help.

Goleta officers, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, a K-9 team and the sheriff’s Forensics Unit teamed up in a search for the suspect, who they were unable to find, and to gather evidence.

Nearly one year ago, a woman who lived in the same apartment complex reported being sexually assaulted by a man who broke into her home while she was sleeping, according to Sugars. In both cases, the women were alone.

Sugars said that despite the similar nature of each incident, detectives have not confirmed whether they’re related.

There have been four such incidents within close proximity since September 2010, although Sugars said it has not been confirmed that they’re connected.

Sketch of suspect in January incident.
Sketch of suspect in January incident. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

At 9:30 p.m. Sept. 10, 2010, a woman found a man naked from the waist down and sitting on a patio chair outside her apartment at a complex off South Patterson Avenue near Highway 101. The man asked to enter the residence but left when the woman threatened to call police. The suspect was described as a Caucasian male in his mid-20s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, average weight, shaggy blond hair, pale eyes and clean shaven.

At 12:45 a.m. Sept. 11, 2010, a woman who lives in the Sumida Gardens complex reported being the victim of a home invasion sexual assault. The suspect was believed to have entered through a kitchen window and exited through the front door. The suspect was described as possibly a Caucasian male and small in stature.

At 12:45 a.m. Jan. 1, a woman at the Sumida Gardens complex reported seeing a prowler in the patio area outside her apartment. He was described as a Caucasian male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, thin build, clean shaven with possibly blond hair and eyebrows and wearing a dark knit beanie.

Anyone with information about any of the four incidents or who notices anyone or anything suspicious is urged to call the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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