The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department believes it has in custody an underage male responsible for the sexual battery of several women in the Carpinteria area for the last several months. The incidents, which would usually involve a man riding up behind women on his bicycle and grabbing their buttocks and then fleeing, occurred in the area of Casitas Pass Road and the bike path between the 5600 block of Carpinteria Avenue and Via Real.
Authorities believe the Carpinteria teenager in custody is responsible for more than 12 sexual batteries. The breakthrough leading to his arrest came when a woman walking near Poplar Street and Via Real at about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday was grabbed by a Hispanic male riding his bicycle. The victim called the Sheriff’s office and spoke with Dep. Brad Smith, giving him a description of the suspect. In the past the suspect had been described by authorities as a small- to medium-sized man in his early to late twenties with brown hair and brown eyes. Smith kept his eye on areas that sexual batteries had been taking place, and at about 5:15 p.m. spotted someone matching the description given by the women. Smith detained the suspect along a bike path between Carpinteria Avenue and Via Real, and the juvenile was “identified as the suspect from this morning’s batter,” according to Sgt. Erik Raney.
Authorities have tied more than a dozen violations to the male juvenile, who is currently in Juvenile Hall, including one incident in which he allegedly lifted up the victim’s skirt and then exposed himself to her.