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Double Rape Suspect Arrested In Santa Barbara

Police say a double rape suspect was arrested in Santa Barbara this week after attacks that allegedly occurred in July and August on the Mesa.

18-year-old suspect Herbert Wells, formerly of Long Beach, just started at Santa Barbara City College a week ago. The school says he has now been suspended.

One victim is from Santa Barbara and lived near Wells. Santa Barbara Police officers said the other victim was visiting from San Diego and she was attacked while she was staying on a friends couch.

Investigators said the crime occurred off campus in an apartment complex on Oceano Ave. where Wells lived. They say he was not welcomed in either of the apartments where the attacks took place on July 26, and August 31.

Police are asking for community’s help to locate possible other Santa Barbara or Isla Vista victims. They say Wells was known to go to Isla Vista, the college town near UC Santa Barbara.

Investigators say family members were with Wells when he turned himself in at the Santa Barbara Police station. He remains in jail. Bail has been set at $100,000.

Watch KEYT NewsChannel 3 at 5 and 6 p.m. for more information.

Here is a statement on this arrest from the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Herbert Keith Wells Jr., age 18, recently of Santa Barbara but previously of Long Beach, California, was arrested for two counts of forcible rape stemming from incidents that occurred on July 26, 2014 and August 31, 2014 at an apartment complex on the 200 block of Oceano Avenue, where he resides. The victims are adult women.

On September 1, 2014 at 11:15 a.m., Santa Barbara Police Officer Michael Claytor responded to an apartment on the 200 block of Oceano Avenue to investigate third-party reports that a rape had occurred there on the previous evening. The victim of that incident, who resides in San Diego County, had already left town. Later that night however, SBPD Crimes Against Persons Detective Crystal Bedolla was able to make contact with the victim by telephone, interview her, and arrange for San Diego County Sheriff’s Detectives to assist with evidence collection. Officer Claytor’s and Detective Bedolla’s investigation revealed that during the late night to early morning hours of August 31 / September 1, 2014, Wells accosted this victim in an apartment not his own, while she was sleeping on a couch, and forcibly raped her.

During the course of the aforementioned investigation Officer Claytor became aware of another rape involving a different victim that had occurred a few weeks earlier in another apartment at that complex. Crimes Against Persons detectives ascertained the identity of that victim and she was contacted by Detective Andy Hill on September 2, 2014. Investigation into this incident revealed that during the late night hours of July 26, 2014, Wells accosted the victim in the apartment where she resides and forcibly raped her.

On September 2, 2014 Detective Charlie Katsapis obtained a $100,000.00 arrest warrant for Wells for the crime of forcible rape and a search warrant for his apartment. At 2:00 p.m. that day detectives served the search warrant at the apartment however Wells was not there; he had returned to Long Beach. That evening Detective Katsapis contacted Wells and his family by telephone and arranged for Wells to surrender himself at the Police Station on the following day. On September 3, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Wells, accompanied by family, turned himself in at the Santa Barbra Police Department.

Wells was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on the aforementioned charges. Given the nature and frequency of these crimes, investigators are concerned that additional unreported incidents may have occurred. In addition to residing briefly in Santa Barbara, Wells is known to have spent time in Isla Vista. Anyone with information about additional crimes committed by Wells is asked to contact law enforcement.

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