Man Allegedly Tries to Rape Homeless Woman

Assault Occurred as Victim Walked to Beach to Sleep

Felony probationer Ronald Roy Gifford was arrested April 8 for assault with the intent to commit rape after a March 23 incident involving a homeless woman.

According to police, the 32-year-old victim was walking south on Milpas Street — she and her husband were planning on sleeping on the beach near the intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and Calle Puerto Vallarta — when she was stopped by Gifford at around 9:30 p.m. The woman recognized Gifford, 40 years old and also homeless, from when he tried to sell her marijuana earlier in the day.

Ronald Gifford

The victim told police that Gifford threw the bicycle he was riding into nearby bushes and then pushed her into the bushes as well. “The suspect held the victim down and attempted to remove some of her clothing and spread her legs,” said a police spokesperson. “The victim believed she was going to be raped.”

By this time, the victim’s husband had become worried and started looking for her. When he reached the area, he reportedly heard his wife yelling “No!” The husband rushed to her aid, struggling with Gifford for a moment before he fled the scene.

After the assault, Gifford was seen by the woman and her husband on three different occasions: at Dwight Murphy Field on March 27, on March 29 at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, and on April 8, when he was arrested, playing pool at Whiskey Richards. Gifford was booked into County Jail on a no bail probation detainer.