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Santa Barbara Cousins Arrested for Allegedly Raping Homeless Woman

Santa Barbara police are investigating a particularly disturbing sexual assault case involving two local men — who are cousins — and a homeless woman.

Police spokesman Sergeant Riley Harwood told NewsChannel 3 that 30-year-old Juan Carlos Herrera Romero and 26-year-old Gabino Andres Grande Romero raped a homeless woman early Wednesday morning on East Beach in Santa Barbara.

The alleged incident happened on the sand, along the 600 block of Cabrillo Boulevard.

Harwood said the men spent Tuesday evening fishing off Stearns Wharf and drinking beer, and talked about targeting a homeless woman to rape.

Sometime in the overnight hours, the two men allegedly found the 62-year-old woman with a 69-year-old male companion, sleeping on the beach.

“The two men accosted the two homeless people camping,” Harwood said. “They brandished a knife and physically subdued both and took turns sexually assaulting the female victim.”

The woman made her way across the street to the Doubletree Resort and told employees about the attack. They immediately called police.

Harwood said Juan Romero was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a construction site in Montecito. Gabino Romero was arrested Wednesday night following a police stop on Las Positas Road.

The two suspects are being held on $250,000, apiece.


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