Police on Wednesday arrested an 18-year-old man accused of raping two women over the last two months in his apartment complex. Herbert Keith Wells Jr. recently moved to the area from Long Beach to attend Santa Barbara City College this semester.
In the late-night hours of Sunday or the early morning hours of Monday, Wells allegedly raped a woman from San Diego County who was sleeping on a couch in an apartment on the 200 block of Oceano Avenue, a complex where Wells also lives.
On Monday morning, Santa Barbara Police Officer Michael Claytor visited the apartment after hearing secondhand reports of the incident. Because the woman had returned to San Diego County, the Santa Barbara Police Department coordinated with San Diego detectives to gather evidence. Claytor later heard reports of a separate rape that had reportedly happened on July 26 at another apartment in that same building. Authorities reached out to that woman, who told them she had been raped late at night.
A $100,000 warrant was soon issued to search Wells’s apartment and arrest him, but officers found he had returned to Long Beach. Police called Wells and his family. Accompanied by his family, Wells turned himself in the next evening, when he was booked into County Jail.
Investigators are concerned there are more unreported incidents that have occurred, according to a Police Department press release. “Anyone with information about additional crimes committed by Wells is asked to contact law enforcement,” said Sgt. Riley Harwood, who added that Wells spent time previously in Isla Vista.