Police link series of sexual assaults in Santa Monica to Lynwood man

Fernando Venancio Jr.
(Santa Monica Police Department)

A Lynwood man has been charged in connection with a series of robberies and sexual assaults in Santa Monica, prosecutors said Thursday.

Fernando Venancio Jr., 43, was arrested Monday after police responded to a 911 call about an attempted sexual assault and robbery in the 800 block of 18th Street.

Santa Monica police said a woman was attacked in an abandoned building. According to Lt. Saul Rodriguez, Venancio was found hiding behind another building not far from the scene.

Since Venancio’s arrest, police say they have connected him to two other attacks in the area: a June 16 sexual assault that also occurred in the 800 block of 18th street, and a July 12 sexual assault and robbery that occurred near 17th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.

“It wasn’t until the last incident occurred that we began to realize that there was a link between all three,” Rodriguez said.

After reinterviewing the three women who had been assaulted, police realized descriptions of the assailant in each incident matched Venancio, Rodriguez said. It was not immediately clear whether the attacks are related.


Venancio has a long record of criminal history, including a 2018 conviction for assault on a person by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. In total, he has been the subject of 17 criminal cases, including the most recent charges against him of sexual assault and robbery.

He is being held without bail at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, according to inmate records.