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Police Blotter: Burglary, fraud and fire

San Jose residents arrested in connection to January burglary

Santiago Chavez and Gloria Mendoza of San Jose are in custody following isolated arrests for allegedly committing a Los Altos residential burglary early in the year, according to a press release issued by the Los Altos Police Department.

At approximately 12:20 p.m. Jan. 25, officers responded to reports of a burglary on the 2000 block of Kent Drive. The victim at the scene told police the house was likely burglarized while the homeowners were away, the report said.

Chavez and Mendoza, both 20 years old, were identified as suspects during the course of the investigation and arrest warrants were issued.

Chavez was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail June 27 on suspicion of being tied to to the residential burglary. Mendoza was arrested and booked into the same jail on the same charge Aug. 10.

Police department officials did not reply to a Town Crier inquiry regarding how the suspects were connected to the crime, why they were arrested separately and other related questions prior to the paper’s print deadline.

Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call Detective Sgt. Brian Jeffrey or Detective Dan Corkern at 947-2770. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the department’s tip line at 947-2774.

– Melissa Hartman

Fraud case releases last of seized funds

Final checks are in the mail for the local investors whose funds were seized as part of the fraud investigation of SB Capital. The Los Altos-based investment business, which wrote small-business loans through two funds that included many local investors, was put into court receivership and liquidated over the course of seven years.

An Aug. 12 court approval concluded that process, releasing the final funds held in reserve and rejecting a final challenge from Mark Feathers, the company founder at the heart of the investigation. Feathers came to a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in late 2017, pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud, for which he was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

The $200,000 held in reserve to potentially fund Feathers’ legal fees is being redistributed to investors, who have recouped approximately 80 percent of their initial investments. Feathers had sued for access to those defense funds, but U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila instead granted a motion to disburse the funds and end the receivership process.

– Eliza Ridgeway

House fire displaces Los Altos Hills residents

A Los Altos Hills family that placed a grill too close to their home caused a fire that spread to their garage and attic last week, according to fire officials.

The fire started at approximately 5 p.m. Aug. 12 at a residence located on the 11500 block of Arroyo Oaks Drive, a Santa Clara County Fire Department press release stated. Four fire department engines and one rescue unit responded to the home, and firefighters discovered the garage on fire with flames spreading to an attic space. They were able to contain the blaze within 30 minutes.

Two residents who were home at the time managed to evacuate the house prior to the arrival of firefighters, and no one was injured, the release reported. The residents are, however, temporarily displaced from their home.

  Keep grills at least 10 feet away from structures, out from under eaves and away from combustible materials, the fire department warns. Never leave a grill unattended.

– Megan V. Winslow

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