OAK PARK (CBSLA) — A man arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap a teenage girl in Oak Park is now believed to be behind several 2016 break-ins and sexual assaults in Ventura.
Edgar Ruelas, 38, was arrested on March 6 for trying to kidnap a teenage girl in Oak Park, according to Ventura County sheriff’s officials. She managed to get away and describe her attacker as wearing all dark clothes and a ski mask.
The subsequent investigation led to a search warrant of Ruelas’ cell phone, which officials said showed he had been a resident of Ventura in 2016, during a rash of break-ins, three of which included a sexual assault.
Between April and August of 2016, four women reported an intruder, all at about 5 a.m. In each incident, the intruder wore gloves, dark clothes and a ski mask. In just one incident, the woman reported the man was peeping through her bedroom window. Three women reported being sexually assaulted or groped by the intruder, authorities said.
After Ruelas’ arrest in March, Ventura police detectives contacted his ex-wife and learned they lived within a 2.5-mile radius of all four of the 2016 crimes. Authorities say his ex-wife realized Ruelas matched the description of the suspect in the 2016 reports, and recalled he would take early morning “hikes, but stopped when police began to investigate those cases and canvass the area.
The couple apparently moved from the area in September 2016, and no further assaults or crimes with a similar suspect description were reported in that area, authorities said. Detectives, speaking to witnesses who lived in the area in 2016 and knew the couple, learned Ruelas was known for leaving early in the morning and was suspected to have something to do with those crimes, but those suspicions were never reported, according to sheriff’s officials.
Ruelas faces charges of burglary, assault with intent to commit rape, and sexual penetration by force. He is being held on $5 million bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Sept. 8.
The investigation into these crimes are ongoing. Anyone with information about these crimes or Ruelas can contact Ventura police Detective Jesus Nunez at (805) 339-4465.