Stephen Ellison

Mountain View Family Frightened in Violent Attempted Home Invasion

Members of a Mountain View family were recovering Tuesday hours after five people tried to violently break into their home. It was all part of a plot by their landlord to scare them into moving out, according to Mountain View police.

Around 8 p.m. Monday, a rental dispute turned violent, with people pounding on and kicking the front door of a home in the 2000 block of Rock Street, police said. At the same time, the power suddenly went out.

Heather Navarro
Home invasion suspects Reenu Saini, 50; Steven Carling, 53; Lori Walston, 49; Brian Ross, 49; and Debra McNeil, 52.

"When they arrived there, one individual turned off the electricity to the home to scare the family," police spokeswoman Katie Nelson said. "Then one individual used a knife to break through the front door."

Police arrested five people, including the landlord, Reenu Saini, 50, of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of breaking and entering and assault with a deadly weapon. The others arrested were Steven Carling, 53; Lori Walston, 49; Brian Ross, 49; and Debra McNeil, 52. All four are San Jose residents.

A neighbor said he heard it happen.

"I was cooking dinner, and I heard the commotion," neighbor David Murphy said. "I heard banging. I said knock that off."

Police confirmed the incident was over a rental dispute.

"Unfortunately, rather than going through legal channels to resolve this peacefully with the family, the landlord allegedly decided to call a friend, who brought in some other individuals, to go to the home that evening to physically and forcibly remove the family from the home," Nelson said.

The family, a married couple with three children, did not want to be identified since they were just attacked. They say they just moved in and thought they had an agreement for a set price. But the property manager started harassing them, and then the attack happened.

The family said a dog also was involved in the attack, and police confirmed the suspects had a dog with them.

The family said they’re very upset and will try to find a new place to live.

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