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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 2:21 pm | Partly Cloudy with Haze 58º


SBCC Student Suspected in 2 Rapes Near Campus

Herbert Keith Wells Jr.

A Santa Barbara City College student has been arrested for allegedly raping two women in the apartment complex where he lives near campus. 

Herbert Keith Wells Jr., 18, who moved recently to Santa Barbara but formerly lived in Long Beach, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of forcible rape stemming from incidents that occurred on July 26 and on Monday of this week at an apartment complex in the 200 block of Oceano Avenue, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Harwood said investigators are concerned that Wells may have victimized other women, and noted that he is known to have spent time in Isla Vista.

Wells had started classes at City College for the first time one week ago, according to Joan Galvan, the college's public information officer.

The most recent attack occurred sometime in the early morning hours Monday, Harwood said, when Wells allegedly accosted an adult female victim who was sleeping on the couch in a nearby apartment unit and forcibly raped her.

Later that morning, police responded to investigate third-party reports of the rape, but found that the victim, who resides in San Diego County, had already left town.  

A detective was able to make contact with the victim by telephone later that evening, interview her and arrange for San Diego County Sheriff’s Detectives to assist with evidence collection.  

During the course of the investigation, police became aware of another victim, who allegedly was raped in another apartment unit in the same complex.

The woman was interviewed by a detective, and alleged that Wells had forcibly raped her in the apartment where she lived during the late night hours of July 26.

A $100,000 arrest warrant for Wells was obtained on Tuesday, and a search warrant was issued for his apartment, but Wells had returned to Long Beach when police issued the warrant.

Wells and his family were contacted by police by telephone and Wells turned himself in at the Santa Barbara Police Department on Wednesday.  He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

"Given the nature and frequency of these crimes, investigators are concerned that additional unreported incidents may have occurred," Harwood said.

In addition to residing briefly in Santa Barbara, Wells is known to have spent time in Isla Vista, and anyone with information about additional crimes committed by Wells is asked to contact law enforcement.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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