A disturbing home invasion case in the South Bay entered into the world of the bizarre Wednesday when Santa Clara County Sheriff’s detectives released images of a cache of guns and jewelry found hidden in the floor boards of a San Jose home.
Detectives said the hidden compartments are connected to a violent robbery and torture case out of Gilroy. On Feb. 5, three men broke into a Gilroy man's home. They tied him up and tortured him until he told them how to get into his safe which contained guns and other valuable including a coin collection. Police say the robbers beat the man unconscious for refusing to give up the code to the safe. They also stole his truck, which was located torched outside Saratoga the following day.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department refused to let this case go and continued to pick away layers until that ultimately lead to a big break. Sung said th discovery was something out of a "Law and Order" script, but took longer than 43 minutes to play out.
The house of suspect Ernesto Gonzalez was searched in the past, but detectives came back again this week.
Sheriff's spokesman Rick Sung credits the keen eye of detective Sgt. Julian Quinonez for cracking the case. Sung said Quinonez noticed something was off in the height of a crawl space when searching Gonzalez' home on Wednesday. Further inspection upstairs lead him to find something off with the carpet upstairs. Once they pulled the carpet back, the case was solved.
On Wednesday, Quinonez and other detectives discovered more than 20 handguns, 40 long rifles and other collectible items inside the floor boards. Most of the items were connected to the Gilroy case, but some were connected to other crimes in the South Bay according to detectives.
Earlier this month, sheriff's deputies arrested five men in connection with the Gilroy case, but they didn't have the stolen goods until now. In addition to Gonzales, the other suspects are Juvenal Reyes, 62, of Gilroy; Danny Rivera, 22, and Juan Fonseca, 21, of San Jose, and Norberto Serna, 41, of Morgan Hill.
Anyone with information regarding this case can contact detective Sgt. Julian Quinonez or detective Sgt. Ryan Elder at 408-808-4500. During non-business hours, please call 408-808-4400. Those who wish to stay anonymous can call the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 408-808-4431.