Alleged Burglar Covered Girls' Mouths During Break-Ins: Police

He is accused of covering an 8-year-old girl's mouth with a rag until she screamed, police say

An Oxnard man accused of burglarizing homes and sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl earlier this month has been charged in connection with two more burglaries in the area, police said Tuesday.

Luis Contreras, 18, was arrested Sept. 2 after police responded to a late-night burglary call in the 2100 block of Barnett Street, according to the Oxnard Police Department.

Contreras is suspected of assaulting the 11-year-old as she slept in a room she shared with her 6-year-old brother, police said.

Police then received another burglary call from the 2100 block of Barnett Street. An officer spotted a man believed to be Contreras riding a bike in the neighborhood after the burglaries were reported, police said.

Evidence during the investigation linked Contreras to a mobile home invasion in the 2400 block of East Pleasant Valley Road in March, where police said he gained entrance by cutting through a window screen.

Investigators believe Contreras then went to a bedroom and placed a rag over an 8-year old girl's mouth until she screamed. He then ran away, officials said.

A similar incident occurred in July when the suspected burglar climbed through an open bedroom window of a home in the 400 block of Dollie Street and put his hand over an 11-year-old girl's mouth, police said.

The girl's father chased him out of the home, police said.

The suspect now faces six charges, including residential burglary and lewd acts with a minor. If convicted, he could face life in prison with the possibility of parole and will have to register as a sex offender.

Contreras is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15. He was being held in lieu of $300,000.

Investigators believe there may be additional victims and anyone with information is asked to call Oxnard police at 805-385-3921. Anyone who wants to remain anonymous may call the violent crimes hotline at 805-982-7070 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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