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Police Say Sexual Assailant in Clown Mask Robbed Another Woman Minutes Before Attack and May Have Other Victims

A mug shot of a man and a photo of a clown mask and cash

Police arrested Joel Alfredo Hernandez, 22, of Hesperia, California, on suspicion of robbing and sexually assaulting a woman while wearing a clown mask. They’ve since identified another alleged victim and believe there may be more. (Image: photo by Victorville Police Department)

Police say a 22-year-old California man wearing a clown mask sexually assaulted a woman before robbing another woman, and investigators believe there may be more victims.

Joel Alfredo Hernandez was arrested Tuesday in the Southern California desert city of Victorville after a woman called 911 at 5:14 p.m. and said she was robbed by a Hispanic man wearing a clown mask and a red sweatshirt, according to a police press release.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Arrowhead Credit Union parking lot, where the woman said she was attacked near an ATM, and spotted a man walking who matched the robber’s description. They arrested Hernandez as a suspect and “recovered evidence from the robbery inside Hernandez’s backpack, along with $500 in cash stolen from the victim.”

Deputies then learned of another woman who’d called 911 to say she was sexually assaulted in a supermarket parking lot. Her description of her assailant matched the description given by the other woman: “an unknown Hispanic male adult who wore a white clown mask and red sweatshirt,” the press release said. The attack also occurred shortly before the robbery, police said, and the El Super Market parking lot near the credit union parking lot.

“Deputies contacted the victim of the sexual battery and obtained a detailed statement,” police said. “During the interview, Victim 2 positively identified Hernandez as the suspect who sexual assaulted her.”

Police released a photo of cash, a purple ski mask and Joker-style clown mask, as well as a photo taken of Hernandez when he was booked into the San Bernardino County’s West Valley Detention Center in Victorville.”

Jail booking photos in California generally aren’t public, but police said they were releasing Hernandez’s photo because “there may be additional victims that have not come forward.” He from Hesperia, about eight miles south of Victorville.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Victorville Police Department at 760-241-2911 or the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department at 760-956-5001. “Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at,” according to the release.

Hernandez remains in jail on $200,000 bail for robbery and sexual battery charges.

[Image: Victorville Police Department]

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.