Sacramento police arrest prowling suspect using DNA evidence

A man already in jail facing a sexual assault charge is accused in Sacramento prowling incidents in which residents reported a suspect looking into their windows and sometimes masturbating.

Juan Jose Soto, 37, was linked to five prowling incidents using DNA evidence that was collected at the scene, the Sacramento Police Department announced Tuesday afternoon in a news release.

The Police Department investigated several reports throughout 2020 and 2021 of a man prowling around homes in Sacramento’s midtown and Colonial Park neighborhoods. Police said victims and witnesses reported the man trespassed onto their property, looked into their windows and sometimes masturbated.

Officers forwarded the reported information to detectives from the department’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, who took over the investigations. The detectives submitted evidence collected at the scenes for DNA analysis.

Police said the DNA evidence confirmed “numerous cases” were linked to the same unknown offender. The detectives later determined the same suspect was involved in a similar incident investigated by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

The detectives identified Soto as a suspect through further investigation, DNA testing and collaboration with investigators from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Police Department.

Soto has been in custody at the Sacramento County Jail since Oct. 14. He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 10.

Soto was initially booked at the jail in October on charges of assault with the intent to commit sexual assault, burglary and indecent exposure in a public place, jail records show. Also in that criminal case, Soto faces a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly peeking in a door or a window.

Investigators asked any witnesses with information about these prowling incidents to call officers at 916-808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at 916-443-4357. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the P3 Tips website and app.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes breaking news stories related to crime and public safety for The Sacramento Bee. He speaks Spanish fluently and has worked as a news reporter in the Central Valley since 2004.

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