Santa Clara police link suspect to separate burglary, sexual assault incidents

On Thursday, Santa Clara Police released a sketch of a man they say broke into a woman's apartment and they believe that same man may have sexually assaulted a woman in her home a week prior.

Both crimes happened in the overnight hours in locked, gated communities. Police aren't saying how the suspect got in. Now, neighbors are on heightened alert.

The Santa Clara neighborhood where the assaults happened is filled with luxury apartments and condos with young families settled there.

"It shouldn't be happening in a community like this it's a fairly nice community and you don't expect that thing to happen everyday," said Nick Goodenow who lives at Bella Vista Apartments.

"It's a devastating to both our victims so this is a priority case for us to get this person off the streets," said Lt. Kurt Clarke of Santa Clara Police.

On Feb. 13 at 1:30 a.m. a man broke into a woman's apartment at the Bella Vista Apartments on Hope Drive and sexually assaulted her. Then, the following Saturday on Feb. 20 at 3 a.m. police believe that same man may have entered another woman's apartment down the street at the Estancia Apartments. In that case, the victim confronted him and scared him away.

"We believe that both are connected based on similarities from the times, the location," said Lt. Clarke.

The suspect is described to be in his late 20's, early 30's of Hispanic or Middle Eastern descent with a medium build and balding.

"We live around here so we don't want this to happen to our neighbors," said Kate Ciesielski who lives at Estancia. "That's always concerning I would say."

"It's definitely you are going to have to look over your shoulder now," said Andrew Perazzo who lives at Estancia.

Perazzo showed us an email the apartment sent last month about an attempted assault in the fitness center. The suspect there said to be a teenager.

Now, neighbors on the lookout, reminded crime can happen anywhere, at any time.

"After learning about it, I've been walking around watching people seeing faces," said Perazzo.

Police want everyone to take a good look at the sketch and they are stepping up patrols. A neighborhood watch meeting will be held at Bella Vista next month.