SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — San Jose police said a group of men threatened to kill a baby as they forced the baby’s father to drive to a bank and withdraw money from his account. Detectives uncovered evidence revealing that the men were behind at least three terrifying home invasions around San Jose, police said Thursday.
“All of these incidents are disturbing. They were going all over the city,” police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told reporters gathered at Thursday’s press conference.
One of the disturbing incidents happened on May 31 at a home on Summerdale Drive in east San Jose around 4 p.m. Police said a group of at least five men broke into the house and held the father and his 15-month-old baby at gunpoint.
“The suspects threatened to shoot the child and kidnapped the victim, forcing him to go to his bank, demanding that he withdraw money from his account. The suspects returned with the victim to his home and stole various personal items, including bank cards, and jewelry. The suspects were captured on a dash camera fleeing from the scene by the victim’s wife as she came home,” Officer Steve Aponte wrote.
The mother’s dashcam video shows the group leaving in a vehicle that appears to be a silver Toyota RAV4 SUV.
The same group invaded a house on North Capitol Avenue shortly before they terrorized the Summerdale Drive family, according to the San Jose Police Department. The men bound an elderly couple with belts and violently assaulted the couple, Aponte said. While the victims were still tied up, the group stole bank cards, jewelry, and an SUV before fleeing the scene around 2 p.m.
The group allegedly used the Toyota SUV stolen from the North Capitol Avenue home to carry out the Summerdale Drive home invasion.
One week later, on June 7 at 12:18 pm, a third home invasion occurred on Bolero Drive in south San Jose. Two men held another elderly couple at gunpoint and violently assaulted the victims.
“The suspects rummaged through the home and attempted to steal various items,” Aponte wrote. While the assailants were still ransacking the house, one of the victims was able to escape and call 911.
Officers quickly responded to the home and nabbed two suspects as they attempted to flee. The suspects, identified as Armando Manzano, 19, and Daniel Mendez, 19, both of San Jose, were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for felony robbery charges.
During the investigation, the San Jose Police Department identified two additional suspects: 23-year-old Eduardo Santiago and a 17-year-old boy. The 17-year-old boy’s name and mug shot were not released by police because he is a juvenile.
With the assistance of the SJPD Covert Response Unit, Santiago and the boy were apprehended in San Jose. Police executed search warrants at their homes and found stolen property.
Robbery detectives learned that Manzano was arrested for an unrelated charge of evading police on the evening of June 5 and booked into jail. Manzano was released from custody on June 6 — the day before one of the home invasions.
Sgt. Christian Camarillo said San Jose police officers are feeling frustrated with how frequently inmates are released from jail shortly after they are arrested. Camarillo said the Santa Clara County Jail has a “revolving door.”
“We are really starting to become frustrated. These suspects need to be held accountable for these serious crimes they are committing. They need to remain in custody. (Manzano) was arrested, walked out of jail the next day, and then the day after that, went and committed another violent home invasion. We want our community members to be safe in their own homes, and we want these folks to remain incarcerated. The system is failing the community,” Camarillo told reporters.
Manzano, Mendez and Santiago are currently in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Camarillo said the SJPD is working together with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to make sure that — this time — the suspects remain behind bars and can’t easily bail out.
The trio is believed to be involved in additional burglaries and violent crimes. SJPD is asking for the public’s help in providing all potential surveillance footage of the suspects, regardless of whether the footage captured a crime in progress.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective VanBrande #4542 of the San Jose Police Robbery Unit via email: email@example.com or call 408-277-4166.