Monday, July 16 , 2018, 4:03 am | Fair 65º


Suspect Arrested for Lewd Acts After Sheriff’s Sting

Several recent incidents in Carpinteria prompt an undercover decoy operation

Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department have arrested a man for lewd acts after an undercover decoy operation prompted by several indecent exposure reports in the Carpinteria area.

In recent weeks, the sheriff’s Carpinteria Station has received six reports of a man who would masturbate in front of women as they walked on the sidewalk. The suspect was reported by most of the victims to be a Hispanic male, age 20 to 30, short brown or black hair, 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a thin build. He was seen riding a mountain bike.

In response to the complaints, sheriff’s detectives began a decoy operation in Carpinteria to capture the suspect. About 9:15 p.m. Monday, sheriff’s detectives saw a man matching the suspect description, who was pushing a mountain bike. The man with the bike was walking in the direction of an undercover female detective, who was walking on Eighth Street.

The female detective continued walking and crossed the Eighth Street footbridge. The male continued to follow her. After crossing the bridge, the suspect walked his bike past her. He got on the bike and rode off. The suspect then turned his bike around and rode back toward the female detective, who could see the man had his hand in his pants and was masturbating.

The detective identified herself as a deputy sheriff and told him to stop. After a short foot pursuit, the suspect was arrested.

He was interviewed by detectives and booked into jail on charges of lewd acts in public. The case will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office with a request for additional charges of indecent exposure to be filed on the suspect for the other incidents under investigation.

The suspect is in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Bail was set at $50,000.

Other potential victims are asked to report any similar incidents to detectives at 805.681.4150.

The name and a photograph of the suspect are not being released, as the investigation is still continuing and other victims may come forward.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.


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