She was awakened to someone breaking into her car. Then things turned worse when the robbers turned and attacked her. George Kiriyama reports.
From surveillance cameras to firearms, fear in one San Jose neighborhood is turning into a plan of action after a 74-year-old woman was attacked in her own home on the 400 block of Mahoney Drive.
Family members said the 74-year-old heard noises outside, saw two men trying to break into a white Honda Accord parked on the driveway, and then yelled at them through a front bedroom window. The robber then jumped into the house through the that window, held something to the elderly woman's head and began to beat her up.
A neighbor said she witnessed part of the attack when the 74-year-old woman ran out of her house and across the street to her doorstep. She said the man who was chasing her was threatening to kill her.
“At about 2 a.m., the doorbell rang. Nobody was at the door, so I opened the screen door and they were just in front of this bedroom. They had her down on the ground. There were two men, one was beating on her. The other was saying, ‘Don’t hurt her, don’t hurt her, she’s an old lady,’ but the one that was hitting her wouldn’t stop.”
“The violence was just amazing, I couldn’t believe it. Hitting her and breaking her nose.”
San Jose Police Sergeant Jason Dwyer said after the gruesome attack, the men went back to the house to steal some things.
Family members said they took an iPhone, some watches and jewelry.
The elderly victim is now recovering from two black eyes and a broken nose.
She’s lived in that house for 50 years.
Neighbors stopped by with flowers, some told NBC Bay Area they believe the men broke into at least a couple other cars overnight.
Sgt. Dwyer said police are most concerned about how quickly it escalated from an auto burglary to a violent home invasion robbery.
“Obviously the motive here was robbery, but it was very violent with bold suspects who chased them twice,” said Dwyer. “Chasing the victims inside the house and when they try to flee, they chased the victims outside, which is very unusual. Usually when someone flees they take what they can grab and flee in the meantime, before police show up but they actually took it a step further and chased the victims down the street.”
This is happening about a week and a half after another home invasion robbery 15 miles south in the Almaden area, where police say two people in their 70s were threatened and robbed at knife point.
Robbery detectives, who are on this latest case, were able to make arrests just a few days later of three men, ages 18 to 19. Roberta Castillo, who lives in another East San Jose neighborhood, said her elderly neighbors were also targeted a month ago. “I’m glad that they didn’t go in and beat anybody up like they did here because they were elderly and by themselves,” Castillo said.
“You know it’s really scary, I don’t live in this area and I was in a completely different area so everywhere you go you have to be so careful.” Several neighbors said they are now seriously considering putting up security cameras because they’ve had enough. One neighbor said his Jeep and truck have been broken into multiple times in the last year.
“I know the feeling. It gets into your gut and you want to catch them. That’s why I put a camera in my room, a new one.” But people are talking about getting a lot more than surveillance cameras. They want fire power for self-defense. Sergeant Dwyer said the department wants people to leave that type of force to the experts, but understands the sentiment.
“It’s not comforting to know that’s the type of anecdotal experience we’re hearing from our guns stores, people buying more weapons, more ammo, I don’t believe that’s the solution. I think there’s community policing solution in there. I believe there’s things we can do at the police department in conjunction with the community to start to try turn numbers around. I don think the answer is to go out and buy a whole bunch of guns.”