San Jose police announced the arrest of 13 people on Monday, two of which were minors, who are believed to be linked to a number of armed gang incidents targeting gardeners and stealing their landscaping equipment.
Officials conducted an investigation that led to several arrests between February 17 and 24. The suspects were allegedly responsible for a series of crimes, including armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, criminal threats, and two attempted murders.
Investigators believe that gardeners and landscapers were the primary victims of the crimes. According to some witnesses, the suspects used bolt cutters to steal power tools from pickup trucks. The criminals allegedly assaulted or threatened the victims when they tried to stop them. Eyewitness and security cameras captured at least two of the crimes on video footage.
Some of the suspects police arrested were involved in shootings in March 2020 that resulted in the injury of several civilians. Police said residents reported many of the cases in an area bounded by McLaughlin Avenue and East William Street. Investigators also took into consideration the group who committed crimes in Santa Clara.
Authorities filed more than two dozen charges, including attempted murder, assault, domestic violence, kidnapping, property theft, illegal gun possession, robbery, reckless driving, drug sales, and criminal threats.
Last month, police served search warrants that led to the recovery of a large number of stolen gardening equipment. Authorities said they also retrieved at least five handguns from the search.
Police booked the 11 adult suspects, ten men and one woman, into the Santa Clara County jail, while two minors aged 17 and 14 were booked at Juvenile Hall, Mercury News reported.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen praised his office’s efforts and coordination with the San Jose Police Department in seizing illegal weapons and arresting extremely violent criminals.
Police believe all of the crimes were linked to gang violence due to the discovery of gang paraphernalia at the scenes of the crimes. However, only four of the male adult defendants were charged with gang enhancements. One of which was a shooting on March 18, 2020, another on February 1, and an assault on February 16.