Killer awaits sentencing for murder of LAHS grad

The convicted killer of two women, including a 1996 Los Altos High School graduate, awaits sentencing after being found guilty Aug. 15 in the stabbing deaths and the attempted murder of a third woman.

Jurors also ruled Thursday that serial killer Michael Gargiulo was sane when he committed the brutal home-invasion crimes.

Emergency alert system test scheduled for Friday

AlertSCC test” width=
Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Fire Department
The shaded area above represents the approximate boundaries of where Friday's test message will be heard.

In preparation for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, the Santa Clara County Fire Department plans to conduct a test of the county’s emergency alert system this week.

Anyone within or near the AlertSCC “test polygon” at 10 a.m. Friday (Aug. 30) may receive the following text message: “This is a TEST. Have a fire safe weekend. Find wildfire prep info at sccfd.org/rsg,” according to a fire department press release. Three of the polygon’s “sides” roughly correspond to Page Mill Road in the north, Interstate 280 and Highway 85 in the east and Skyline Boulevard in the west. The fourth side is located south of Highway 17 across the Sierra Azul Preserve.

“Nearly every community served by Santa Clara County Fire Department is at risk for wildfire and needs to be prepared,” said Tony Bowden, SCCFD Fire Chief, according to the press release.

To register for AlertSCC, visit www.alertscc.com. For wildfire preparedness tips, visit the fire department’s website at www.sccfd.org/rsg.

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Late rent prompts eviction by invasion

Mountain View home invasion” width=
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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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.

San Jose residents arrested in connection to January burglary

08 21 19 NEWS Burglary ChavezSantiago 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.

Downtown Los Altos businesses burglarized early Wednesday morning

Village Pantry” width=
Zoe Morgan/Town Crier
Village Pantry, pictured, and Baskin Robbins in downtown Los Altos were broken into early Wednesday morning (Aug. 14), the Los Altos Police Department said.

Downtown Los Altos businesses Village Pantry, located at 184 Second St., and Baskin Robbins, located at 264 State St., were both hit by burglaries overnight when a suspect or suspects broke in by jimmying the lock, according to Los Altos police Sgt. Steve Spillman.


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