Similarities between two recent assaults in the Phelps Road and Haskell’s Beach area have led the Sheriff’s Office to believe they were perpetrated by the same man, Public Information Officer Erik Raney said. Two young women were assaulted less than 72 hours apart in Goleta and gave similar descriptions of their attacker. The first occurred on August 10 at approximately 12:45 p.m. and the second on August 12 at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Raney said the first incident involved a 22-year-old woman jogging on a dirt path near Phelps Road when she was grabbed by the arm and pulled toward a man she described as a “white male, 40-50 years old, average height and weight, with a dirty brown-white beard” who “smelled heavily of alcohol.” The victim punched the attacker with her keys in hand before he punched her in the face and released his grasp. She was able to run away and call 9-1-1. She sustained minor swelling injuries from the punch.
The second incident involved an 18-year-old who was waiting for her friends in the Haskell’s Beach parking lot when a man, whom she described as “a white male, 50-60 years old, average height and weight, with darker hair that went over his ears and forehead, and a white beard,” approached her and asked if she was okay before reaching under her shirt and sexually assaulting her, Raney said. She described the man as smelling like “marijuana and dirt.”
The 18-year-old was able to kick her attacker and strike him in the groin area before he retreated to his vehicle and drove off. The victim described the vehicle as similar in look to an older model Chevy Volt. The victim ran towards her friends to call for help.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating the suspect, who is believed to be a white male, 40-60 years old, of average height and weight with a dirty white beard, and wearing mussed clothing or dirty in appearance. The suspect may also be driving a small, older model four-door vehicle.