August 22, 2017

Santa Cruz Police Arrest Serial Groper

Santa Cruz Police arrested Frank Benavidez for groping several women today on Pacific Avenue. Quick-acting SCPD Officer Burnham stopped the suspect, who is a sex offender registrant, in a series of sexually motivated attacks.
Frank Benavidez, 43 years old from Salinas

On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at about 11:07 a.m., Santa Cruz Police responded to a call of sexual battery that had just occurred in the 900 block of Pacific Avenue. The first victim, a woman fought off Frank Benavidez when he sexually groped her near the bus station. The second victim, a woman had been walking on the sidewalk when Frank Benavidez grabbed and physically assaulted her. The victim pushed the suspect off. However, he attacked her a second time. Two good Samaritans who witnessed the attack intervened. The suspect, Frank Benavidez then ran across the street and grabbed a third woman from behind. The victim fought off the suspect by punching and kicking him. The suspect chased after a fourth female and threatened to assault her sexually.

Within minutes Santa Cruz Police located the suspect Frank Benavidez, 43 years old from Salinas. Frank Benavidez is a recently registered transient sex offender in the City of Santa Cruz.

Detectives are reviewing video surveillance in the area. Investigators believe there may be additional victims in the series of groping attacks in the City of Santa Cruz. The victims were traumatized by the attack; none required medical attention.

Frank Benavidez was arrested for multiple counts of assault with intent to commit rape, sexual battery, and false imprisonment.

We are asking for the public’s help in identifying any additional victims with whom Frank Benavidez may have had contact. Please call the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Unit at (831) 420-5820.

SCPD is also working with the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women to encourage and connect victims with resources and prosecute crimes of violence against women.