Late rent prompts eviction by invasion

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Courtesy of the Mountain View Police Department
Suspects Debra McNeil, from left, Steven Carling, Reenu Saini, Brian Ross and Lori Walston.

A Mountain View landlord unhappy about late rent orchestrated a home invasion Monday evening (Aug. 26) to evict her tenants from their residence, according to police. When that plan backfired, she and her accomplices resorted to shutting off the home’s power and attempting to pry open its door.

Landlord Reenu Saini, 50, of Sunnyvale, recruited her friends, San Jose residents Steven Carling, 53, Lori Walston, 49, Brian Ross, 49, and Debra McNeil, 52, to help her force a couple and their two children from a home located in the 2000 block of Rock Street, according to a Mountain View Police Department press release.

Saini “had leased the home to the victims but had become frustrated when the family was late paying the rent,” according to the release.

After failing to physically remove the four from their home, the suspects shut off the power and Carling employed a knife to try to break open a door, according to the release. He struggled with the victims as they tried to keep the door shut. The family eventually managed to safely evade their attackers through a back door, and they awaited police assistance on Rengstorff Avenue.

“This was a deliberate attempt using scare tactics to evict a family from a home,” said Lt. Armando Espitia. “There are civil procedures and remedies that landlords and tenants can pursue with regard to late rent payments, but unfortunately these individuals took extremely dangerous and unlawful steps that resulted in their arrest.”

Officers charged Saini with attempted robbery, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy to commit a crime and unlawfully shutting off power to a home. They charged Carling with attempted robbery, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime. Walston, Ross and McNeil face attempted robbery, burglary of an inhabited dwelling and conspiracy to commit a crime charges.

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