Crime

Man accused of SLO home invasions faces more charges — including forcible rape

Arthur Tiofilo Rocha, 40, of Arroyo Grande, is accused of committing a pair of home invasion-style assaults and burglaries targeting women in San Luis Obispo in July. He is pictured here at an Aug. 6, 2018, arraignment.
Arthur Tiofilo Rocha, 40, of Arroyo Grande, is accused of committing a pair of home invasion-style assaults and burglaries targeting women in San Luis Obispo in July. He is pictured here at an Aug. 6, 2018, arraignment. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed more criminal charges — including forcible rape — against an Arroyo Grande man accused of committing a pair of home invasion-style burglaries in San Luis Obispo in July.

Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy accepted an amended complaint from the DA’s Office that contains 14 felony charges against Arthur Tiofilo Rocha, most of which carry individual sentencing enhancements for the alleged use of a knife and for Rocha’s three prior felony convictions.

There are three victims associated with the charges, according to the complaint.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos’ new complaint includes three charges of forcible rape, one charge of forcible oral copulation, one charge of sexual penetration by a foreign object, one charge of assault to commit rape during the commission of a burglary, three charges of assault with a deadly weapon (knife), two counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of making criminal threats.

Standing with his attorney, Matthew Kraut, on Wednesday, Rocha pleaded not guilty to all counts.

He previously faced six felonies, the most serious of which was assault to commit rape, a charge which itself carries the possibility of life in state prison.

Rocha, 40, remains in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he’s been held in lieu of $1 million bail since his Aug. 1 arrest. He’s due back in court for a pre-preliminary hearing Sept. 19.

The two home invasions took place within days of each other and, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, were carried out by a knife-wielding man who entered women’s homes through unlocked doors and windows.

Police say the first occurred on Los Palos Drive near Los Osos Valley Road, on July 8. The woman, who is in her 20s, told police that she woke up to find a strange man in her bedroom.

The man, who was holding a sharp object, threatened to harm her if she screamed, police said. He then sexually assaulted her and fled, according to police.

On July 13, police said, two women in their 20s fought off a man who attempted to sexually assault them in a home on Osos Street.

Officials identified Rocha as the suspect after discovering evidence from the July 13 alleged sexual assault, and officers arrested him at his Arroyo Grande residence. A search of the apartment turned up “numerous items of women’s clothing, primarily undergarments,” as well as jewelry and photographs, according to a police statement released Aug. 3, the same day the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed its original complaint against Rocha.

A search of Rocha’s vehicle also allegedly turned up two magnetic photographs of young women who appeared to be in their 20s, with one photo showing four women standing outside on the rear balcony of what appears to be Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach.

Police said it’s unclear whether any of the women in the photos are known to Rocha, or whether the photos were stolen. Investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying the women.

The photo can be viewed at the San Luis Obispo Police Department’s Nixle Alert page.

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Matt Fountain 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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