A San Diego County man raped one woman and tried to sexually assault another as he broke into four apartments in the span of one night, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s officials.
At about 2:35 a.m. Wednesday, deputies arrested Michael Anthony Espinoza, 22, as he ran near an apartment complex in the 1200 block of Alturas Road in Fallbrook.
After interviewing the apartment residents, investigators discovered Espinoza had allegedly been raiding units through the night.
Veronica Rodas, a burglary victim, told NBC 7 she did not know the suspect had entered her home until deputies returned with her stolen wallet.
Her brother was sleeping on the couch, and her husband, 1-year-old and newborn were in the bedroom with her when Espinoza creeped into their house around 2 a.m.
"I'm just glad that I have two guys living with me," said Rodas. "He didn't do nothing to my kids; that's what I'm happy about too. He could have taken one of them. That would have been scary too."
Instead, Espinoza took two baseball caps and a wallet, deputies say. He was able to walk right in the door; Rodas said she didn't lock her doors at night because she felt safe in this area.
A second victim, a 62-year-old woman, said the suspect broke into her apartment, sexually assaulted her and left.
About 10 minutes later, Espinoza is accused of getting into a third apartment. However, he quickly ran out when the woman inside spotted him and called 911.
Officials say Espinoza entered a fourth unit and tried to sexually assault a 39-year-old woman while she was in bed with her husband. When the woman screamed, the suspect fled.
Deputies heard the victim’s screams, they say, and saw a man matching the suspect’s description running from her home.
After a short foot chase, deputies arrested Espinoza.
"When you are dealing with someone who is entering a house when people are home, that is a concern," said Sheriff's Lt. Dan Brislin, "and when it's coupled with a sexual assault on top of that, that becomes a communit-wide concern."
The suspect is being held on a $1.4 million bail, charged with residential burglary, penetration with a foreign object with force, rape with force and assault with intent to commit rape during the commission of a burglary.
The investigation is ongoing. If you know anything about these crimes, call the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200.