SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A crackdown on a violent San Jose street gang has resulted in 13 alleged members being arrested on a variety of charges including attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and the illegal possession of firearms.
San Jose police said Monday that the arrests came in response to a surge in street violence. The suspects — 11 adults and 2 juveniles — were taken into custody between February 17th and February 24th.READ MORE: Pulitzer-Winning San Francisco Composer Wayne Peterson Dies at 93
The crime wave was not limited to San Jose but occurred in other communities across Santa Clara County.
Among the victims were a number of local gardeners and landscapers that were targeted by the gang.
The crimes occurred while the victims were away from their vehicles, police said. The thefts of their equipment became robberies when the suspect’s used force or brandished weapons prior to fleeing the scene.
Officers from the department’s Gang Investigations Unit, Robbery Unit, Covert Response Unit, VCET, and METRO Unit executed multiple search warrants throughout San Jose.
Searches at these residences yielded multiple firearms, gang indicia, narcotics and dozens of items of stolen property, police said.
The adults have been booked into the Santa Clara County Jail and the juveniles were booked into the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall.READ MORE: Danville Officer Who Killed 2 Suspects In Separate Police Shootings Booked On Manslaughter, Assault Charges
The total number of victims is unknown. It’s also unclear how the crew allegedly fenced the stolen goods.
“I personally have relatives that do this work. It is backbreaking work. They’re always out there, they’re not making a ton of money. Anytime they get their equipment stolen is basically taking food off of their family’s table,” said Camarillo.
Eduardo Ascencio, a gardener in San Jose for more than 20 years, was not surprised when he learned how the robbery crew operated. Several months ago, Ascencio’s leaf blower was stolen out of his pickup truck when he began work in the backyard of a client’s home, as he left his truck at the curb.
“I don’t know, I went to the same place. I go to the back, I come back to pick it up. Somebody already picked up the blower,” said Ascencio.
Landscape maintenance was shut down in the initial days of the pandemic in March 2020, as Santa Clara County sought to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Many workers went without pay for weeks, and the $800 replacement cost was a financial blow to Ascencio.
“I’m working a lot of money for this. But for somebody to come and pick it up, that’s no good,” said Ascencio.MORE NEWS: FAA Plan To Shift Air Traffic Patterns Over East Bay Gets Dropped Following Outcry
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Weber or Detective Estantino of the San Jose Police Department at 408-277-3835. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may either call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, (408) 947-STOP.