Fresno police arrest man accused of series of sexual assaults

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An arrest was made in what police are calling a series of sexual assaults.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama is telling the community they are confident they have the right man behind bars.

"I'm hopeful that this time, he can go to prison and just highlight the fact that these women should've never been assaulted because this individual should not be walking around in the streets of Fresno," said Chief Balderrama.

The man arrested is Joseph Keluche, 39.

Fresno Police said around 3:30 Saturday morning, a woman working at the Chevron at Butler & Chestnut Avenues called Fresno Police to report a man trying to break in and making sexual motions outside the glass door.

By the time officers arrived, he had taken off, but just 30 minutes later at Chestnut and California Avenues, police said he climbed in through an unlocked window and sexually assaulted an elderly woman.

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Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama is telling the community they are confident they have the right man behind bars.

The woman fought back and he left.

Thirty minutes after that, at Maple and California, police say he climbed through another unlocked apartment window and sexually assaulted a woman who was sleeping inside. When she screamed he took off.

"It shows that he has no there's no accountability and no fear for law enforcement. Because, he actually stayed in that area. He was very close to where the act, the acts that the crimes took place," said Chief Balderrama.

Investigators said they also have video of the suspect running onto Fresno Pacific University's campus and looking through windows.

On Tuesday, detectives spotted Keluche, matching the suspect description, at a park near Lane and Winery Avenues.

Officers took him into custody for outstanding warrants for indecent exposure and violating a restraining order.

Investigators said he eventually confessed to the three incidents on Saturday.

A records check shows he has a long criminal history, including an indecent exposure charge from December of 2020.

Chief Balderrama described Keluche as a "sexual predator."

"Even after the officers got there and he ran off in the area, most individuals would call it a night, but not this person. You know, he went on to offend twice in the same night, within the next hour. And it's that simple. It's is alarming, surprising," said Chief Balderrama.

Police said they're confident they've arrested the right person, but are reminding people to always protect themselves by locking their doors and windows and double-checking them before they go to bed.

"We want people in that community to feel safe, to feel secure. They don't have to worry about this guy trying to do the same thing tonight because he's off the streets," Chief Balderrama said.

Action News reached out to Fresno Pacific University to ask if students were notified about the suspect being on campus.

A spokesperson for the university released a statement, saying the following:

Late Saturday morning the Fresno Police Department requested video footage from Fresno Pacific University cameras along the perimeter of campus including Butler and Chestnut avenues in regard to its investigation of an incident which happened earlier that morning at the Chevron station at Butler and Chestnut. These cameras faced the sidewalk outside the campus. Fresno police told FPU officers of other suspected attacks in the area away from campus. At the time the identity of the suspect was unknown.
FPU officers were first made aware of the identity of the suspect by Fresno police Tuesday afternoon after he was apprehended. This happened after Fresno police asked for and were provided on-campus camera footage by FPU officers. That video showed an unidentified person had climbed the fence and spent 7-8 minutes on campus before leaving early Saturday morning. The person had no contact with anyone and did not enter any building on campus. On Tuesday afternoon Fresno police told FPU officers this was their suspect, who had been arrested earlier. This was after the video was reviewed as part of FPU's continued cooperation with Fresno police in the investigation.
FPU works hard to keep students, faculty and staff safe at all times, resulting in a safe campus with no reports of serious crimes in the last year, according to our Clery report. The university cultivates a close, ongoing and positive relationship with Fresno police. Campus safety patrols the main campus, which has numerous cameras covering the campus and area nearby. Shuttle services are provided. There are emergency poles on campus where people can make reports to our Campus Safety Office and call 911. Students are educated on safety and emergency procedures.

Keluche is being held in the Fresno County Jail on nearly $200,000 dollars bail.
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