News

14 teens arrested in arson fire

Illicit teen parties blamed for blaze that destroyed house on Fordham Way

Police have arrested 14 people in connection with a fire that burned a house in the 1700 block of Fordham Way in the early hours of March 16. Investigators say a series of drug- and alcohol-fueled illicit parties at an empty house went awry, leaving the home seriously damaged when a fire started by three juveniles burned out of control.

While the residents were away on vacation, the house was also burglarized, and an Audi A4 stolen, said Sgt. Saul Jaeger, spokesman for the Mountain View Police Department. The car appears to have been stolen on March 14 and was later recovered in San Francisco, he said.

Jaeger said he expects more arrests to be made in the coming days.

The parties were attended by students from local high schools and a college. Twelve juveniles and two 18-year-olds have been arrested in connection with the case, said Jaeger.

Brandon Pak and Gilbert Gomes, both from Mountain View, were arrested this week on charges of burglary and child endangerment, with Pak facing an additional charge of providing marijuana to juveniles.

The juveniles, whose names and ages were withheld by police, face charges ranging from arson, burglary and auto theft to drug possession and drug sales, Jaeger said. Most of the students attend Mountain View High School, with a few from Alta Vista High School and Foothill College, he said.

A juvenile knew the family was gone, broke in and had a party the weekend of March 7, Jaeger said, with more parties to follow.

"It was your typical house party gone bad," he said.

According to detectives, the parties featured heavy alcohol and drug use.

"It's super lucky that nothing worse happened, that nobody died because of a huge fire like this," Jaeger said.

Just before 2:20 a.m. on March 16, firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at the home, according to Jaeger. Arson was suspected, and starting on March 17, multiple search warrants were served on homes in Mountain View and Los Altos, said Jaeger.

The Santa Clara County Fire Investigation Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assisted MVPD in the investigation.

Jaeger said he didn't have a dollar amount for the estimated damage to the house. "It looked like a total loss. When you can see through the house to the other side ..." he said.

The fire was extinguished by about 3:30 a.m. and there were no reported injuries and no other homes were damaged by the blaze.

The police department has been working closely with Mountain View-Los Altos School District officials on the case, Jaeger said. The fire highlights the police department's "See something, say something" campaign encouraging public involvement, he said.

"The ironic thing is that the police did not receive a single call with a noise complaint, or complaining of a loud party," said Jaeger. "It's a little disconcerting."

Police are asking for the public's help in gathering information about the party. Anyone with a tip may call 650-903-6395. Anonymous tips may also be sent via text to 274637 -- include 'mvtips' in the body of the message.

Comments

Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

"Typical house party gone bad"? Who is he kidding? Is he comparing this to other Mountain View incidents or to horror movies? Having your house burned down by a bunch of punks is likely the worst day ever in the lives in the home owners. Any information on why did the punks choose to pick on them?


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

While the MV Voice article isn't clear, some other media sources have provided clues.

Apparently, this was not the first weekend party these kids hosted at this location. They knew the residents had been on vacation for a while and would continue to be out of town for more time.

Here's the paragraph in the above story that alludes to that:

"A juvenile knew the family was gone, broke in and had a party the weekend of March 7, Jaeger said, with more parties to follow."

Knowing that the homeowners were gone for an extended period, the site was selected as Party Central. This was not a random occurrence. What relationship the juvenile had with the homeowners is unknown but certainly he/she was well informed about the residents' extended absence. A neighbor? Babysitter? Lawn mower? Pool cleaner?

Based on the ages of many of these perpetrators, it's unlikely the public will hear the entire story. Luckily, no one was hurt. It's mostly property damage at this time.


Posted by Mr DePorto, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 25, 2014 at 7:33 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Bikes2work is a registered user.

Someone in the family probably posted info about their vacation on Facebook. Friends of friends can usually see those posts.

The MVPD Facebook post about this story has a comment with a link to Mr. Pak's Facebook profile. You can see all of his info.

Very tragic outcome for all involved (especially the family that lost their home).


Posted by Facebook Stalker, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

You can see both of their Facebook pages. Gilbert goes by his middle name, Taylor. Both boys look like typical "good kids".


Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Mr. Gomes goes to a private prep school. The state pen is going to be a big change for him.

Mr. Pak looks like the oldest son and pride of his family. His parents are probably disappointed more in themselves than in him right now.


Posted by BadNeighbors, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm

What a sad neighborhood. Not one neighbor noticed these parties, or cared enough to check up on their neighbor's house? Guess they had better things to do. Next time, it might be their house.


Posted by BadNeighbors, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Here is the Mountain View Police non-emergency number that could have been used by a neighbor in this case:
Non-Emergency Crime Reports. 650/903-6395


Posted by Neighour, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 25, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Do not be so judgemental. We live close by and we up late on Sat night and never heard any noises. They did not have a loud party. Nobody really knows this family really well.


Posted by walnut street, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:07 am

apparently someone knew them well enough to know that they would be on vacation for an extended period of time...maybe a stronger sense of community is needed?


Posted by Analyst, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:19 am

So, two 18 year olds break into an empty house(charge for breaking and entering) and throw a party(not so much of a disturbance of peace since no one called until the house set on fire) for a bunch of minors while only one 18 year old provided them with marijuana. Am I missing something?

"Brandon Pak and Gilbert Gomes, both from Mountain View, were arrested this week on charges of burglary and child endangerment, with Pak facing an additional charge of providing marijuana to juveniles."

Where did the burglary happen?
Burglary is the crime of either entering a building as a trespasser with the intention of committing theft, rape, grievous bodily harm, or damage, or, having entered as a trespasser, of committing one or more of these offenses.

So where was the INTENT or the COMMITMENT to steal, rape, or damage any property or any 15-17 year old "children"?

The two were also charged with child endangerment. On what accounts? If they were charged for child endangerment on accounts for marijuana distribution, then thats completely reasonable; but only for Brandon Pak. What about Gilbert Gomes? And did the two commit the house fire or intentionally manage to set it on fire? For a "party" house to catch on fire, there's no way only a few "children" attended. Who knows? It could've been one of the juveniles? But God no, I hope it's not little Timmy.

Last time I checked, the limit on the drinking age is 21 years old. How could these two 18 year olds supply all the "children" with alcohol?

Is the police department making charges based off assumptions or the "children" that could testify? Unless all the juveniles are questioned, I don't think the charges at hand should pass. Are we assuming these two 18 year olds rounded up all the "children" and brought them to a house to set on fire, just to mark them as liable. That's pretty elaborate and absurd. Also, a 1-2 year age difference doesn't make these teenagers any less responsible for their actions. If the 2 18 year olds have to take on charges for breaking and entering, and one of them taking a charge for child endangerment(for marijuana distribution to minors), that's fine by me. Otherwise, they're just taking the heat for the rest of the "children".
That is with the assumption all the information this article presented is all the evidence there is. And there's definitely a grey area involved that I hope their lawyers spot.

...just my opinion.


Posted by Concerned Mom, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:33 am

My prayers for the parents and families involved. I personally know one of the kids involved. He is actually a very nice kid who made a very poor choice. I am deeply saddened by these events. This kid has amazing parents and I am sure they are hurting very much. As a parent of teenagers, I am very sad and concerned and I hope this is a lesson for the kids in the community. I feel terrible for the family who lost their home too. This is a real tragedy.


Posted by try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

These are not good kids who made bad choices. These are red flags as to who these children are. Good kids don't make these kind of colossal mistakes. Good kids can make poor choices, but are not criminal. The kids that I knew in high school that pulled these kinds of shenanigans have gone on to lives in and out of jail. These kids are criminals plain and simple, even criminals have their good moments and people who love them.


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

@Analyst:

There is no specific indication in the article that the Gomes and Pak were the ringleaders of the caper. The only reason why they have been singled out by name is because they are legally adults. Any one of the other twelve teenagers could have been the main perpetrators/instigators.

As to burglary, if one of these kids help himself/herself to a soda in the fridge or some chips from the pantry, well, that's burglary.

The article does not specifically state that Gomes and Pak were the exclusive suppliers of alcohol for the partygoers. However, if they did supply some alcohol and others drank it, then the police are correct.

It is up to the district attorney to decide whether or not to charge some or all of the juveniles as adults. However, it is clear that the district attorney cannot charge the adults as juveniles. They might be irresponsible and immature, but they are adults.

"The juveniles, whose names and ages were withheld by police, face charges ranging from arson, burglary and auto theft to drug possession and drug sales, Jaeger said."

Based on the above statement, one of the juveniles set the fire. An Audi A4 was reported missing and eventually found in San Francisco. The above statement thus indicates that a juvenile had taken the vehicle.

"A juvenile knew the family was gone, broke in and had a party the weekend of March 7, Jaeger said, with more parties to follow."

This statement above indicates that it was not Gomes or Pak who were the original source of information about the home vacancy.

It will likely be some time before the public gets more clarity since specific charges for each juvenile have yet to be provided.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

This is a story we should all be concerned about because it could have happened in any of our neighborhoods.

Question, is one of the juveniles a resident of the home? Was it this juveniles parents who were out of town leaving a juvenile at home alone or staying with friends? Is the alcohol that was consumed left by the homeowners? If this is the case is there any reason why they are not being charged with providing alcohol to minors?

Is there any indication that these teens broke into the house or that they let themselves in with a key?

There are a lot of things that this article is not stating. Many teenagers are left alone by parents. Many people leave a key with a neighbor while they are away on vacation and this key could be taken by a teen for a party. Many people away on vacation leave alcohol on their home which could be the source of the alcohol at the party - and presumably the marijuana too.

I have a lot of sympathy for the homeowners, but I wonder if they had made any mistakes themselves.


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

@Jay Park and PA Resident, thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts.

We too know one of the families involved, and agree that this is sad and tragic for all involved. The 18-year-olds will no doubt miss all end-of-year graduation activities with their peers, possibly not graduate, probably have one or more college acceptances revoked, etc, and that's just the beginning, before any criminal charges.

One of the many lessons here is for parents to know what their children are doing and where they are. If your child says they are spending the night at a friend's house, parents need to "spot check" and call the parents to confirm their child is there and that the parents are home. Parents really need to monitor what their kids are doing on facebook. From browsing the facebook pages of some of my children's friends and acquaintances, it's pretty obvious which kids don't have to worry about mom or dad seeing what they post! A lot of kids refuse to "friend" their parents, who make the mistake of accepting that. One of the 18-year-olds in this story has 2 facebook accounts, it appears that one is for family and the other is for friends. I'm 100% certain the parents of the 18-year-olds in this story are caring, loving, good parents, who weren't aware of what their children were doing. Parenting teenagers has never been easy. I hope all the kids and parents will be held responsible and that everyone will learn how to be a better parent and kids to make better choices instead of being blamed and criticized.

Just my .02


Posted by A friend of the family, a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:17 am

to @PA Resident:

"Question, is one of the juveniles a resident of the home? Was it this juveniles parents who were out of town leaving a juvenile at home alone or staying with friends?"

No, the entire family was away. The high school aged child in the family only knew one of those arrested, and was only an acquaintance at that.


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

@PA Resident:

"Question, is one of the juveniles a resident of the home?"

Unlikely. Here's the relevant statement.

"A juvenile knew the family was gone, broke in and had a party the weekend of March 7, Jaeger said, with more parties to follow."

This seems to indicate the the juvenile was not a family member and thus did not have a house key.

"Is the alcohol that was consumed left by the homeowners? If this is the case is there any reason why they are not being charged with providing alcohol to minors?"

We won't know until the police release a statement about the evidence; undoubtedly, they would have to interview the homeowners.

It is unlikely the homeowners would be charged with providing alcohol to minors, since they did not deliberately offer it to the kids. Remember, the house was broken into. It's not like they left the front door open and set up neon signage pointing to the liquor cabinet. If the homeowners had been present on site and passively let the kids plunder the bar, well, yes the D.A. might attempt to press charges, but that is not the case here. The homeowners took adequate measures simply by locking the house up before they left.

"Is there any indication that these teens broke into the house or that they let themselves in with a key?"

Well, yes, from the statement provided by Sgt. Jaeger. The original break in occurred the weekend prior to the fire.

It is likely that the fire itself damaged and/or destroyed some of the evidence.

Many questions are unanswerable at this point since the police have only made a few statements. Without a doubt, they are conducting a full investigation which might take some time since there were apparently no witnesses apart from the partygoers until the fire started.


Posted by Try-_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:42 am

"Question, is one of the juveniles a resident of the home? Was it this juveniles parents who were out of town leaving a juvenile at home alone or staying with friends? Is the alcohol that was consumed left by the homeowners? If this is the case is there any reason why they are not being charged with providing alcohol to minors?

Is there any indication that these teens broke into the house or that they let themselves in with a key?"

Did you read the article? Why do believe the police arrested 14 people, without any warrant or evidence? The answer to why the homeowners (THE VICTIMS) were not charged lies in the fact that kids broke into the home. Anything consumed therein would be THEFT.

"A juvenile knew the family was gone, broke in and had a party the weekend of March 7, Jaeger said, with more parties to follow."

It's really amazing how all these kids come from great homes. It's interesting that somehow my family for generations has never been involved with these kinds of matters or any other criminal activities. Something is wrong with the moral fabric, I see it everyday when I send my kids to school and meet their friends, I saw it in the kids who I went to school with who did the types of things in this article. I hear from the parents mouths that smoking marijuana and using other drugs are par for the course when growing up and going to college.

Parents loving their children is not enough. I know someone who did this in high school, had a large party trashed the house, urinated all over the house. They also had loving parents. That kid and many of the kid's friends have been in out and out of jail. Wealthy family too.


Posted by parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm

The article says that college students were involved, but the 2 mug shots are high school students. Is there some reason that the college students are not being identified? Possible, but unlikely, that they are under 18.


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm

@parent:

"The article says that college students were involved, but the 2 mug shots are high school students. Is there some reason that the college students are not being identified? Possible, but unlikely, that they are under 18."

Yes, there's a simple explanation and it's covered in the article:

"Jaeger said he expects more arrests to be made in the coming days."

That means that the college students (likely adults) might be charged sooner or later. Or maybe they won't. It's up to the D.A.'s office. Remember this crime is currently under investigation and sometimes it takes days, weeks, months, even years to amass enough evidence to press charges.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I heard from a reliable source that the mattress was set on fire to destroy DNA evidence of urinating on the mattress and it got out of control. This is a very scary situation. Thank god no lives were lost. This is a perfect example of what drugs do to the brain. Praying for the family that lost their house. And also for the families of all the charged.


Posted by Anek Doat, a resident of Gemello
on Mar 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Since we're all throwing out anecdotal information, I know 3 kids who were jailed in high school. The are all GREAT people, law abiding family men with solid jobs after their graduation from Berkeley, Cal Poly and UC Davis.
Two still live in the area and are active in the Elks, one lives in La Jolla.
If others anecdotal stories are supposed to hold any weight, then this one must as well. If you dismiss this one, dismiss them all.


Posted by kevin , a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I heard the same thing about the mattress. These out of control Teenagers were so hammered on drugs and alcohol and I'm not talking about pot, that they thought this was a good idea. Great Kids, Ya right. All are hoodlums and should be tried as adults......

These great kids have great parents that keep such a good eye on their kids. NOt. They are all a danger to our community.


Posted by kevin , a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I heard the same thing about the mattress. These out of control Teenagers were so hammered on drugs and alcohol and I'm not talking about pot, that they thought this was a good idea. Great Kids, Ya right. All are hoodlums and should be tried as adults......

These great kids have great parents that keep such a good eye on their kids. NOt. They are all a danger to our community.


Posted by PeaceLove, a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

As a parent of a teenager I'm saddened at all the rush to judgment in the comments. The fact is teenagers *often* do stupid things and alcohol compounds the idiocy a hundredfold. Parties that get out of control are quite common, whether in "good" or "bad" neighborhoods. I know of several cases in which houses were trashed partially or totally; I've even helped clean up after one. Don't assume the kids involved are "bad" kids.

I'd guess the house fire was a very unfortunate consequence of unrestrained teenaged id, as was the "borrowing" of the Audi. The police may categorize it as "theft" but it seems very likely the perps were simply teenagers with bad judgement who thought a joyride in a nice car would be a good idea.

As for the marijuana charges, those are a relic of a government propaganda campaign that has classified a plant the DEA itself ruled was "safer than many foods we commonly consume" as somehow dangerous. Don't believe the BS; if these kids had stuck with cannabis and avoided the alcohol almost certainly the evening would have ended very differently.


Posted by Arson Daly, a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Kids will be kids.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Ya but two are not kids, and one of the adults has already been convicted of a felony.... So much for that 4 year plan aye mr. pakkk hahahahahahahaha.


Posted by try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

@ Anek Doat- Yes I gave an anecdote- this is not news article, trial or even a debate board. This is my opinion based on my experience. It is my belief. Also, you failed to mentioned what they went to jail for, and that makes a huge difference. I also know other who have gone to jail and then reformed their lives. In this case, these kids broke into a house repeatedly, trashed the house and showed they have no decency or respect, those are huge red flags. I won't hold my breath for a turn around.

@peace and love- I believe that you could rationalize anything and you are part of the greater problem. The kids didn't break in once, they broke in multiple times, trashed and urinated all over the place, stole and damaged items in the house and stole a car and who knows what else went on. This was not an out of control party, this was breaking in and entering. Have you once thought of the psychological stress that this is going to have on the kid whose house it was? No I don't think you did, of course not, because this was just one out of control party, right?


Posted by try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Peace- Borrowing a car is asking for permission, and returning it. Stealing is taking the car without asking and ditching it in SF. How do you think the homeowners are going to cope? No car, no home, lost belongings because of "just a party out of control" well, maybe you should go help them clean up that one? hmm...you going to pay for the damage and clean up that one? Didn't think so.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Try_again, nicely said. I could not agree more. My favorite is when you said that peace was part of greater problem .Spot on! These kids parents all want to say oh it was just kids being kids, and they are good kids. Bla bla bla....this was total disregard for the law, decency, other peoples property, etc, and the parents that say those things are just as guilty.....


Posted by One Deeper, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm

For all the people rushing to announce these are bad kids, or to "lock them up", the majority of high school seniors and some juniors do these types of things. Should they all be incriminated? Has anyone on here lived perfectly and never broken a law? Has anyone never needed a second, or maybe third or fourth chance, even as a child? Lots of good kids make bad or stupid decisions, but they generally do not end up burning down a house. How many times, in our area, have "wild" teenagers burned down a house? Sometimes, people do have geniunely bad intentions, no matter how loving and caring the parents are, or how them raised them, or what house rules they have. However, whether they are good or bad kids is not really our judgement to make, especially since many of us don't really know them. I know Taylor was raised in the church and Pak has past charges. Still, you couldn't make any conclusions off of that one piece of information. How would you like it if someone judged your entire character based on one action? From what I know, they are both very well liked in their schools and friendgroups.

Anyways, what stands out to me, and also aforementioned, is that they are being charged with child endangerment, typically a charge given to child abusers and the like. Why I don't think that should apply is because Pak and Gomes were not responsible for the "children" there. They didn't subject them to anything. They didn't force the minors to go to that house. They didn't force them to burn it down. For Pak, I guess selling marijuana to a minor does somewhat apply. But Pak and Gomes just showed up to a party, as did lots of kids. Lots of people came through that house, and Pak and Gomes may have been there the longest or the most memorable. Pak and Gomes may have been the ones hosting the party. We don't know.

I would also like to note that they are not the arsonists. They did not take the car. They are only charged with child endangerment and burglary. They may have only taken some food or something, or maybe a jacket. On the other hand, they might have taken a tv. From the comments, it seems that they are being associated with a lot of the crimes since they are the only names given. It was actually a couple of "children" who were the arsonists and the car takers. But from what Pak and Taylor are charged with, sounds like just some partiers who went to the wrong party.

Pak and Gomes may have left before the kids started lighting things on fire, or maybe even before the suggestion of burning anything was ever brought up. Someone just happened to say their name, and they just happen to be adults.

For me, this just looks like the MVPD wants to make a precedent for all the other teenagers, since they can't publicize the charges for the juvenile arsonists.


Posted by jim, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm

@one deeper, are you serious. Can you lesson the criminal culpability of these adults anymore? Lots of these charges are Felonies.....


Posted by Sidenote, a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I can bet I know which of the people above have kids and which are childless ;) Just sayin, carry on with all your opinions of one.


Posted by just sgayin, a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

If this was about teens of color all of your comments would be awhole lot different. Just saying


Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

One deeper, "For all the people rushing to announce these are bad kids, or to "lock them up", the majority of high school seniors and some juniors do these types of things. "

Are you serious? A majority of high school seniors party in houses that have been broken in to and participate in vandalizing, stealing and doing drugs? If that's the case it might be time for me to move my kids out of Mountain View. It is MIND BOGGLING to me that so many kids attended these parties, and not one thought that is was wrong enough to report to authorities.

And neither of these boys is being made an example of. They are 18, and with that comes real life and real consequences. Welcome to adulthood.


Posted by Mike , a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 26, 2014 at 7:53 pm

How can someone say the majority of High School Seniors and some Juniors behave like this. Really! I'll bet there are a lot of parents and kids that will disagree with that. That is just insulting.


Posted by MV Student, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Personally, I know these kids. Sure, they've made bad mistakes and terrible decisions, but I think that the "endangerment of children" piece is just too much. It is horrible how just one year in age difference puts Brandon and Taylor on blast.

Where are the college students? I want to know what happened to THEM.

This is just a mess and I can't wait for it to be over.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Hey MV Student at what point should these guys stop being given a free ride. They know they are adults. One of these kids as a minor was a convicted felon and just got off probation. So how many more bad mistakes should be ok? One or two? Sounds to me as if these two 18 year olds enjoyed being the big guy's among the younger crowd. It's to bad their parents did not explain what the responsibility of being an adult carries with it. The age thing works both ways. That is not a valid argument. I just hope the minors involved learn from the adults involved. You might get away with hiding behind your parents until you turn 18, then you stand by yourself facing the judge...... Being an adult is not easy! Enjoy being a kid.....


Posted by Tommieg11, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Non-story......kids being kids


Posted by Member, a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 27, 2014 at 6:35 am

I have to agree with One Deeper. I thinks it's appalling that the press is making the two 18 year olds out to be the ringleaders of this. I do not find the fairness in dragging these two boys through the public press when, I'm sure it is only a matter of weeks that some if these other kids involved will turn 18.

They are all to blame. They all broke the law. They should all be held accountable equally. Greater punishment should be levied upon those that took the car, property and lite the match. Until these individuals are identified, everyone of those kids that entered into the house share equal blame, regardless of age.

The word at school is that 'permission' was given to use the house since the family would be away on vacation. Granted the validity if this statement is extremely questionable, but you don't think that if there is a teenager living in that house, that he MIGHT have told a friend that they could 'use' the house, and the original intent was that just a couple kids came over, and from there the house was an open invitation? I think there is a lot of blame to go around here. It starts with one kid innocently telling a buddy that he can hang at his house while the family is away, to the group if kids that have zero respect for other peoples property to neighbors that seem oblivious to all the people coming and going from their neighbors house for nearly two weeks!


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 7:31 am

@Member:

The MV Voice is not fingering Pak and Gomes as the ringleaders. They are named because THEY ARE ADULTS. They aren't boys, they are men.

They are 18 years old; they have the rights *AND* responsibilities of adults, whether or not they were irresponsible and immature boys a few weeks or months ago. They can vote, can sign contracts, die defending our country, be elected to public office, et cetera ad nauseam.

The "word at the school" is laughable. Read the article: a juvenile broke into the house the prior weekend, according to Sgt. Jaeger. Thus, that juvenile did not have a key/authorized access.


Posted by Posts, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:32 am

I'm a bit surprised The Voice has not removed posts by the 1-2 folks who seem to have a personal grudge against Pak.

I have no dog in the race, but, given the nature of posts that get "cleaned up", I would think direct, personal attacks about a (then) 16 year old would be off-limit. If the allegation is true, it would've been private information; if the allegation is false, it's libelous.

Personal attacks, particularly ones that are unsubstantiated, don't belong here.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

We do have lots of questions and so far not very many answers. Yes these 2 18 year olds are legally adults, but acting like immature minors. Yes they are treated as adults by law, but hopefully they are not beyond redemption.

Let's get some answers.

Is entry with a stolen key considered a break in? Is there any damage showing a break in? Since these "parties" occurred on consecutive weekends there is definitely plenty of knowledge that the homeowners were away. I still think that whether a teen lived in the house and passed this information on is relevant to those of us with teens who are trying to use this as a learning lesson.

Of course there is the legal angle, but as parents we have to look at this as a case whereby we can learn of mistakes made. As parents we need to look and see if this is something that could happen to us or our kids. Obviously we have to know where our kids are, if they are having a sleepover are they actually where they say they are and are the parents present. One thing we have seen over the years is that fellow parents who are pleasant to chat to at sports events and agreeable to carpools, etc. may not have the same attitudes to things like alcohol, curfew, acceptable behavior, as we have. Many parents do go out of town leaving teens alone. Many parents do leave alcohol easily accessible in the home expecting kids to leave it alone. Many parents do lend cars to people outside the family.

In other words, my concern about the kids in this story is secondary to concern about my kids who next weekend may be involved in doing something I would not approve of. As parents we try to be one step ahead and our "rules" are to prevent our kids getting into trouble - not to stop them having fun. Spring break is a time when rules are often more loose, it is a time when some families are out of town and others are home with little to do. We all should be supporting each other as parents and learning from each other's shortfallings and strengths. Raising teens is a team event and watching out for problems makes sense for all of us.


Posted by try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

"For all the people rushing to announce these are bad kids, or to "lock them up", the majority of high school seniors and some juniors do these types of things."

BS.

Let's see, I have children, one teen, went to high school in the 80's and 90's (in the bay area) I've never broken the law and when I was in school the majority of the kids did not behave like this, they were in the minority. Certainly, kids went to parties and maybe had some drinks and some experimented with drugs. Two different things from sealing, breaking in, destroying property and over-all they didn't have the indecency and disrespect that the youths at this party have shown (huge red flags).

What struck me before I had kids was the behavior of a lot of the children being raised in PA and MV (maybe other areas too, don't know) is that the toddlers and kids at the time were allowed to run amok while mom and dad or nanny looked the other way engrossed in something else. The kids would disrespect signs placed by property owners and break rules and were not held accountable. Certainly there were good parents who held their kids accountable to all the rules presented to them, however what really shocked me were numbers that did not.

When I was growing up we were not only held accountable by our teachers, but also other parents, adults and teachers. Our parents did not come to our rescue when we were in trouble. Talk to an older to teacher to hear about how times have changed in parenting. Teachers have to be careful getting after kids because mom and dad will be right there telling them kids will be kids or defending them. This attitude began in my generation is getting worse. I get nasty looks for getting after my kids (no I don't yell and beat them) and making them follow the rules, worse my kids don't understand why all the other kids don't have to follow them.

I've also noticed that this is a very American problem, although I have witnessed similar behavior in England, not in continental Europe. Having been apart of another community in another country, I feel like I have a different vantage point in which to view this issue. 1. The helicopter parents are few and far between and 2. they get after their children, sometimes loudly.


Posted by Try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

Can someone please answer why these teens were arrested and charged if they had a key, if they had permission to borrow the car, if they had permission to be in the house? Is Mountain View PD really incompetent, and soon we will find out that all these charges have been dropped based on evidence and that it was all really just a misunderstanding? Is that the view here?

For some of the teens, it will be a learning experience and they will move on, for others it's a huge red flag and is indicative of their character that likely will lead to more trouble. It will really depend on their role in all of this.


Posted by LAH Resident, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

PA Resident poses some interesting questions. But, I think they are pretty irrelevant when dealing with this situation and your own teens. Our job should be to prepare them, no matter what the situation. At this age, they should be making (mostly) the right decisions. Sure, they may find themselves in situations beyond their control, but they should be equipped to remove themselves from potentially bad situations. Or, if they are unsure how, they should know to ask for help ...

Also, this blame game is crazy -- don't go blaming the homeowner or the neighbors. The neighbors are neither the home's caretakers nor are they the kids' parents. If they noticed something strange, I'm sure they would have reported it.

The line of questioning in some of the above comments where it seems like folks are seeking an angle to place blame on the homeowners is disturbing. Maybe these are parents looking for an excuse for their kids poor behavior? Or, to escape some sort of liability? That would really be telling ...


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

This kind of outrageously stupid and criminal behavior has been going on around here for awhile now.

A couple of years ago my friends teenage child was involved in one of these illegal - breaking & entering, then partying the night and day away - incidents. (Evidently they are more common then we - the general public - might be aware of.) In the incident I am aware of, the teenager I know was supposed to be sleeping over at a known friends house, but instead this teenager, along with several other teens, broke in to the home of another classmate, whom they knew would be out of town for a few days, they proceeded to "party" and what not, spending the night in this house...they were caught red handed when the family returned a day early to find the house in disarray and several teenagers "sleeping" in various parts of the house. The incident was reported to the police and charges were filed. Not wanting to divulge potentially identifying information...I will say the parents of the teenager I know who was involved in this incident made some BIG changes to this teenagers life, including schooling, after this event, and the teenager has done very well in the wake of this incident...college scholarships, etc.

I have no idea WHY anyone, teenager or otherwise, would POSSIBLY think it's okay to break into someone's home and "party" while the homeowner is away, but clearly it's a trend.

People, breaking in to someone's home and partying is NOT cool and it's NOT "harmless"...it's a crime, and that makes you criminals, or sometimes only "juvenile offenders"...whatever.



Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

There is no comment to say that the teens had a key, but there is no mention of how they broke in. The fact that parties occurred on subsequent weekends seems a little like access with a key rather than a broken window or lock may be the case.


Posted by try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

@PA resident--We don't know if they were given a key based on this article. However, even if they did receive a key it would still be unlawful entry and burglary, they entered the home with the intent to commit a crime. The students charged in the incident would need to have written permission or a witness who heard it verbally from the property owners that it was ok to come into the home and borrow the car. It is my opinion based on the arrests and charges that this is not what happened.

Another theory is that they could have broken in and taken a spare set of keys with them the first time. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and what all the facts are.


Posted by MVR63, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

Lets not forget the 1st responders that had to risk their lives to put this fire out. It is just a miracle that no one was injured or killed. The problem with the parents of the juveniles is that they failed to do their job as parents and make sure their kids are behaving properly. The other two are adults, high school students or not they have the same rights as every American adult. This works both way's. They will also face the same consequences as other adults. I think the fact that it appears that one of the adults has a record as a minor just shows the lack of respect for the law. I guess he did not learn his lesson. Now personally I think all should be charged as adults and face the same consequences. If not it will just reinforce the example of entitlement that their parents have made. Unfortunately for the 18 year olds the learning curve had already ended for you. I do believe that with the right environment they can learn to be productive citizens. But that should only happen after the consequences have been leveed to the fullest. (Jail)


Posted by BvP, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

"The fact that parties occurred on subsequent weekends seems a little like access with a key rather than a broken window or lock may be the case."

Why? Jimmy the lock once and you have unrestricted access until someone finds out.

For those making ridiculous excuses for ALL the kids and young adults involved, please stop.


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23 am

I can't help but wonder if try_again, Try_again, and Try-_again are all the same person or more than one person?

You can sure tell who on here has been a parent of teens.

I appreciate the respondents who are looking for the lessons to be learned here (for teens and parents and the community) instead of pointing the fingers of blame.


Posted by MVR63, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

Found this online. I guess will only apply to the adult that was furnishing Marijuana

11361. (a) Every person 18 years of age or over who hires, employs,
or uses a minor in unlawfully transporting, carrying, selling,
giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any marijuana, who
unlawfully sells, or offers to sell, any marijuana to a minor, or who
furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer,
or give any marijuana to a minor under 14 years of age, or who
induces a minor to use marijuana in violation of law shall be
punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three,
five, or seven years.
(b) Every person 18 years of age or over who furnishes,
administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give, any
marijuana to a minor 14 years of age or older shall be punished by
imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, four, or five
years.

Looks like one of the Adults might be in for some time behind bars.... Unplanned consequences get you every time.


Posted by mvR63, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

Here is for the burglary charge. I did not realize that these two adults are facing anywhere from 1 to 10 years in prison for all charges depending on Recommendation from DA.

Penalties for residential (first degree) burglary in California

Burglary of a house, apartment, hotel room (or other structure where people are living) is always a felony in California. It is known as "first degree burglary" or "residential burglary."3

Penalties for first degree burglary include up to 6 years in state prison. This form of burglary also counts as a strike under California's three strikes law.

The Child endangerment charge has so many variables that it could be anything from probation to a few years in jail. I think that the only thing the two adults can hope for is concurrent sentences. Wow this is going to be a mater lifestyle change. Not to mention a strike towards the 3 strikes law. I think not being able to participate in senior activities, graduation, parties etc and the possibility of being rejected from certain colleges is the least of the worries of the Two adults, and any other that get arrested as the investigation proceeds. I do however thank them for the lesson this will enable me to teach my kids.....


Posted by mvR63, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

Here is for the burglary charge. I did not realize that these two adults are facing anywhere from 1 to 10 years in prison for all charges depending on Recommendation from DA.

Penalties for residential (first degree) burglary in California

Burglary of a house, apartment, hotel room (or other structure where people are living) is always a felony in California. It is known as "first degree burglary" or "residential burglary."3

Penalties for first degree burglary include up to 6 years in state prison. This form of burglary also counts as a strike under California's three strikes law.

The Child endangerment charge has so many variables that it could be anything from probation to a few years in jail. I think that the only thing the two adults can hope for is concurrent sentences. Wow this is going to be a mater lifestyle change. Not to mention a strike towards the 3 strikes law. I think not being able to participate in senior activities, graduation, parties etc and the possibility of being rejected from certain colleges is the least of the worries of the Two adults, and any other that get arrested as the investigation proceeds. I do however thank them for the lesson this will enable me to teach my kids.....


Posted by Try_again, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Incognito--yes all the same person. I have a middle schooler and elementary aged child. I also have experience as a teenager and I have seen all the same stupid stuff over and over again. I will continue to voice my opinion on this subject. There are people who want to learn, as well as some defending the teens involved. I disagree with some of the comments here I stated why.

You are free to report anything I write as objectionable content and let the site administrators police the board. I did not know that comments were limited to your ideal parameters of what the discussion should entail.

A lot of these lessons parents are trying to learn are best learned before their child becomes a teenager and the foundation is laid, which is why I am pointing it out. Have you ever watched a child grow up from baby to adulthood? I have, and often times it isn't very surprising how they turned out given their behavior in the past good or bad.


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Whether we have teenagers or not... I assume most if not all here are at least 20, which means we were once teenagers ourselves. Speaking personally, I did a LOT of stupid things then, more than average. Never would have partied in a broken-into house, but I might easily have shown up there without knowing. I'm sure I would have split if I found out, because even then it would have seemed like just a bad idea waiting for bad things to happen. From that frame of reference, I'm concerned for the character and future of the partiers.
From the article, we don't know what level of participation the teenage "adults" had. It may be that they just stopped in to sell some weed and then went on their way. If so, that makes them the lesser criminals in my book.


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 4:16 pm

@Steve, exactly, very well said.

Whether or not you are the parent of a teenager, know one or more teens who were arrested, are a homeowner, have ever been the victim of a burglary, weren't sure who some of your neighbors are and if they were home - it's entirely possible to believe that someone who commits a crime should be held 100% responsible for his/her actions while also being concerned about how this incident affects everyone involved and how it affects our community.


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Maher is a registered user.

I can't count the # of laws these people broke. I want them charged with crimes. I want them to experience at least some time in jail. I want them and/or their parents to be liable for the damages and be required to PAY $$$'s to the home owners for the damages.

Dangerous and willfully malicious behaviors must not be tolerated. "Being young" is not a reasonable explanation. Most of the young people in this world don't break into a home and have a party and burn the place down. ZERO TOLERANCE is the lesson needed.


Posted by FrankL, a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Typical House Party?? The author is just as irresponsible as the adults/ kids who involved. "Sure it was all just a mistake at a typical house party we all should expect and accept." The other "local" high school not mentioned is Saint Francis. God forbid we should dirty their name. The real "typical" problem is the entitlement attitude these kids and their wealthy parents have. Surrrrre they are all good kids and parents. They just have the superiority, entitlement thing going for them. Screw them.


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm

@FrankL:

It was *** SGT. JAEGER *** of the Mountain View Police Department who said it was a "typical house party" that had gone wrong, not the Mountain View Voice writer.

Don't put words into editor Andrea Gemmet's mouth, when she is simply quoting words uttered by another person, in this case the official spokesperson for the MVPD.


Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

*Sigh*

This story is in the UK ... and has better info ... Web Link


Posted by SMR, a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2014 at 8:51 am

There are different levels of crimes here. There were many kids who were simply partying and due to lack of evidence of anything illegal will probably never be charged with anything. Hopefully, all names will be gathered so that families can at least be informed that their children were present.

Of those who were arrested, there were search warrants for stolen property. More than just the car was stolen, the kinds of things that would be taken in a home burglary. The police isn't going to arrest a kid simply for partying. Also, they are investigating into who actually broke (forced entry) into the house and those who burned the house down. Then there are charges of those who sold drugs. For those who are wondering why none of the college students have been arrested, there has to be evidence that they committed a crime and I assume that there isn't have any or at least not yet.

I don't have a problem with the idea that different offenses were committed here and that all the kids shouldn't be held accountable at the same level including some/many who were simply kids being kids.

As for lessons learned here. Well, there are many for communities, for people who go on vacation and for parents of teenage children.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

Well said SMR.

And that is why those of us who are parents of teens and who live in surrounding areas want to know as much as possible about this.


Posted by MVR63, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

I would assume most of the bleeding hearts crying for leniency here are parents of the involved minors who are just doing what they do best get their little angels out of trouble, or trying to minimize their own liability. If you look at the law just going into that house and having a glass of water is burglary. It's the law! The way I look at it is that if your Minor was there at all you should have to pay a share in rebuilding this house,and as for any of the people that can be charged as adults they need to go to jail.

Also I heard that everyone was High on Xanax. If this is the case who provided that?
BTW, I was a teenager once, I did not burglarize anyone's house. I did not party in a house that I was not supposed to be in, and I certainly did not urinate all over the place then try to burn the house down. The only things these kids and their parents are sorry for is that they got caught......

Another BTW, I have two teenagers of this age range and I can assure you that neither were there.......


Posted by Live on the 1700 Fordham of the Burnt house, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I am the next door neighbour. And none of us neighbour have heard any noises that night of the fire. If we did, we would have reported. Who wants their own house to be burnt done. I did not observe any car traffic or extra cars parked in front of the burnt house that night as well. I wonder if there are that many kids were partying in the house on that night, who had dropped them off at the house (their parents I assume since most of them cannot drive). Did the parents now what they are going to do in the house?


Posted by Mountain View 1980, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I feel no pity for these perps. They are criminals. I hope the parents of these perps are also held accountable.


Posted by vera, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I heard the charges were dropped for one of the 18 year olds. Does anyone know if this is true?


Posted by Gonna get real Ugly, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 30, 2014 at 6:55 am

The assumption is all the kids were present and involved in all the crimes committed. The ones who will initially take the heat are the two adults - legally to be blamed or not, the parents of the juveniles will strongly push for this...why? 1. Because it makes perfect sense to blame than to accept responsibility for their poor parenting skills. 2. Liability - parents are financially responsible for their children's destruction of ones property. There may be homeowners insurance (though the policy may not cover arson) but that's for the homeowner's benefit not the parents benefit who will have to cough up 100's of thousands of dollars to build a new home in addition to punitive damages and attorney fees. This will be very interesting because the homeowners will want the juvenile's to be responsible; they can tap into their parents bank accounts oppose to the two 18 years old's (their parents assets are safe) who probably don't have anything worth going after.

Then there's the blame game within the kids who all will be wanting to cut a deal with the DA to testify. Their parents will undoubtedly screw this one up too by trying to get their kids off...no lesson to be learned here. The kid(s) who may be responsible for the most severe offenses may not be held accountable by testifying. It's real sad and shameful but that's how the system is designed to work.

Good kids do stupid things but its usually to themselves. It doesn't involve the deliberate disregard for ones property of someone they know. It takes a sociopath to break into a neighbor's home, have repeated rages, piss on their mattress and set it on fire to remove DNA??? The DNA story is highly unlikely unless they were also planning on cleaning the whole entire house to remove all DNA, fingerprints, etc...oh wait a minute...maybe they did need to burn the whole house down??? FYI. Unless the mattress is really old, it's fire retardant and it wouldn't of created an uncontrollable inferno. So maybe some of the DNA story is true and that's why the whole house is gone.



Posted by Paid Off, a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 30, 2014 at 7:10 am

Wonder which parent will attempt to settle this mess with $$$ to make it all go away? That's what I would do if I had the means and was an overly protective idiot of a parent.


Posted by wally wallendorfer, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 31, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Hope they throw the book at them because it may prevent other such foolish ventures by other youth.


Posted by wondering, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm


wally,

Throwing the book at all of those involved *may* help. The news isn't talking about those under 18 but I've got to believe that the kids at their schools are talking. Anyone have a sense for how this is being talked about by the kids at MVHS? If they don't hear about all of the kids involved suffering for their crimes then I doubt much good will come for other youth.

--Steve


Posted by MyOp, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 1, 2014 at 8:05 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Sadness, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Unfortunately, this is a party that got seriously out of hand. There should be penalties for different crimes. They should not all be lumped in the same group because the only thing they did all the same was show up! I know some of these kids as well and they are good kids. Some left shortly after they saw what was going on. I feel terrible for the family that lost the house believe me!


Posted by Alarmed observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

A horrific episode, reflecting badly on how some of these kids were raised -- as several parents here already said.

We adults were all once teenagers; many of us made mistakes, got into trouble. But we weren't parties to arson, burglary, car theft, etc.

What compounds the disgust is how this story has brought out excuses & rationalizations by some posters here. Their comments repeatedly show their priorities to be sympathy for the perpetrators -- not for the family whose possessions and memories were destroyed, whose lives were turned upside down. These were malicious, deliberate acts. It's now coming out from witnesses that the perpetrators took trouble not to be noticed. Parking a distance away, keeping the parties (plural) quiet. The ones who started the fire could have called 911 to report it but did NOT -- wilfully exacerbating the damage. Certainly such behavior demands adult prosecution.


Posted by Try_again, a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

"Unfortunately, this is a party that got seriously out of hand."

Again, no matter how much the people who know the perpetrators want to spin this as a "party that got out of hand" that's not what it was. It was several parties, the kids involved knew they were doing something wrong over and over again. If i had been there as a teen and saw what was happening I would have called the police on the party, I've done that before. There is a right and a wrong, and these teens were clearly way past the line of wrong. Maybe we should start raising kids to think for themselves?


Posted by where are the facts?, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Alarmed Observer,

Are there published statements from witnesses or are these hearsay?

Obviously they worked to not get noticed: everyone knows that if your are having a party you keep the noise down.
It seems implied that everyone knew the party was illegal but I'd love to see published information on how many were involved in the different crimes and how many were stupid enough to just show up at a party and decide to help with the cover up.

When it comes to the $$$ that will be needed to make things whole I'm wondering how things work with this many people involved. Does only the person who started the fire pay or does each of these kids get to cough up $100K...


Posted by Alarmed observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

"where are the facts:" What I mentioned is on record now and if you haven't seen it yet, you will later.


Posted by recently graduated senior, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

From the viewpoint of a recent MVHS alumn, a very surprising amount of high school seniors get high and get drunk, way more than parents would guess at. Many of these people would be thought of by the general community as "good kids." Maybe I'm biased because I was one of those kids, but don't be too quick to say that they're "bad kids" because they drink and do drugs. In that context, they're teenagers who are apt to make poor choices.

Say that they're bad kids because they broke into a house, stole a car, and ACCIDENTALLY burned the house down.

Also Pak and Gomes are getting all the attention because they are legally adults, but that does NOT mean that they are the ringleaders. There's a 2/14 chance that they're the ringleaders, odds are they're just stupid and unlucky adults.


Posted by Alarmed observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

Again the excuse-making! Second-guessing that someone "accidentally" set the house on fire (while busy partying, ransacking, and trashing the place). The indisputable reality that whoever set that fire ALSO decided not to alert the fire department -- which could have saved the house -- makes the situation clear enough to anyone who isn't trying to explain it all away.

BvP already said it best in an earlier comment: "For those making ridiculous excuses for ALL the kids and young adults involved, please stop."


Posted by Sadness, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Don't agree it's how these kids were raised at all that made this happen.

They are teenagers that made terrible choices and not because of the way they were raised. Sure that their parents feel sick as well. I am sure no one planned for a fire to happen. It will be a hard lesson to learn for these kids and their families pretty sure.


Posted by where are the facts?, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm


"no one planned for a fire to happen"? WHAT?

This was not spontaneous combustion. Are we really supposed to believe that some kid(s) set fire to a mattress and were surprised when things burned? I'm sure that they didn't start the night saying "let's go burn down a house" but there were many opportunities to show some form of good judgment between setting something on fire in a house, failing to put it out, failing to call 911 when the fire was growing (I think they teach you this in Kindergarten), ...


Posted by Revenge, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by where are the facts?, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm


Dear Revenge,

I don't break into some else's house every day. I don't steal someone's car every day. I don't set a fire inside of someone's house every day.

If this had been someone inviting friends over for a party while their parents were out of town and the house was trashed that would be a different thing.

This is why I think it is important that we understand punishment in the context of what people did.

Yes if one kid showed up at the house when invited by friends, had a few beers and then left I agree that they shouldn't be treated the same as the kids who decided to break into the house, or started the fire.

If I drive my car into someone I don't expect to be able to run away.

Leniency for starting someone's house and fire and then running away. No thank you.


Posted by Non Judger, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

This is a sad story of how our world has changed. Any parent commenting here should not compare this to when they were teens and to what they would have done if they were there. Today's teens face way more pressure and most have both parents working full time. This is a break down for the whole community and affects all of us. WAKE UP people! And how do you know your teen was not there? Stop judging and having a rush to lock them all up, you or I do not have all the facts and should wait untill the case is finished. I know one thing for sure, that I will get to know all my neighbors and watch out for them and they watch out for me!


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Again, from the context of my own mis-spent and mistake filled teenage years: No, I wouldn't be surprised by the number of high school students drinking and/or smoking pot. And we all knew the implications of breaking and entering, burglary, and auto theft. Some of us would have avoided all involvement, some of us might have stopped by to check it out, and I can imagine which of my old friends would have lead the way. The term 'sociopath' might apply.
Different levels of involvement should equal different levels of punishment. The ringleaders/thieves/arsonists deserve no break for being juveniles, but just being a stupid kid showing up at a party doesn't merit felony charges.


Posted by Punishment, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:14 pm

It's about accountability. Who's accountable for what happened? You can't blame it on the world. It's either the kids/young-adults themselves or their parents. Don't blame society or community for their mistakes.

Sure, not all kids are equally culpable for the break-in, grand theft, arson, drug dealing ... those directly (principals) involved in those *felonies* must be held accountable. Full stop. The law will decide the punishment.

You might say the others were accessories to the crime. Maybe misdemeanors. Either way, if they knew a break-in occurred, arson or theft committed, etc, and did not report it, they too should incur some (lesser) punishment.

And, any news on the poor homeowners? I guess they are completely displaced and probably heartbroken ... sad.


Posted by Let the kids know, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I Heard the MVPD went in MVHS to arrest the kids for the incident during lunch time to make sure the other kids at school can see it.


Posted by Reasonable, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

To all the people calling for zero tolerance: you are *unreasonable*.

How would you like zero tolerance to apply to you? Driving 37 in a 35 zone: speeding ticket! Oh, a pedestrian about to cross...felony reckless driving. Let's catch you two more times...3 strikes you're out... Life in prison for breaking laws that you do every day!

Now, you want leniency?


Posted by where are the facts, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm


Dear Reasonable,

If someone destroys your house will you be ready to let them run away and hopefully not repeat the mistake?

When I received a ticket for doing 59 in a 55 I didn't like it but I recognized that I had broken the law the paid my fine.
For the key people that stole a car and start a fire in the house these crimes are much more severe that the example you site. Do you not get this?

Do you really think destroying someones home is on the same level as driving 37 in a 35?


Posted by concerned, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm

At Try_Again: I bet you were not invited to many parties. Who are you to judge and convict these kids? That is the courts job, and they will get their due when that date arrives. My thoughts go to the poor family who lost so much. I think they know how hard it is to raise a teenager these days as they have one of their own, but no one thinks or beleives their property will be destroyed by a few reckless kids high on xanax! We all must do better and I really do beleive it takes a village to raise our families in todays world.


Posted by teens should be tried, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I believe these teens should be tried as adults because they are old enough to be responsible for their actions, just like the other two 18 years old. Why would a couple of months make an exception for the crimes they committed? The homeowners lost their house and the teens pretty much trashed the house before it was set on fire. They stole a lot of stuff in the house as well. I am really not sure what kind of values they have. Obviously they do not show any respects for other people's property. I cannot believe the teens who have these kinds of conducts have good morals. I am tired of hearing the excuses that people are trying to make for them. If this is tolerated, what kind of society will we live in?????


Posted by Mr. Ed, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

The apologists for these bourgeois brats are hilarious. It reminds me of the Matthew Pumar case.

If those kids were poor black kids from East Palo Alto, you can bet they'd be howling for the death penalty. But they want their pampered trophy brats to enjoy the full entitlement of being rich and white: no consequences. Every one of those kids should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and their parents should be held liable for the damages.


Posted by Try_again, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

@concerned--wow I am really hurt by you insinuating that I didn't get invited to many parties-not-not sure what that has to do with the conversation. Truth be told I was invited to a lot of parties and went to some and chose not to go to some based on the party goers. There is a very small group of people that are willing to break into a house several times, burglarize it, steal a car and throw many parties in said house, it's not typical teen behavior.

@concerned--"Who are you to judge and convict these kids? That is the courts job, and they will get their due when that date arrives." -- I don't believe I have tried and convicted these kids, I have not tracked them down, I have not made a citizen's arrest and I have not placed them into jail. I have simply given my opinion which is protected under free speech. I have never stated that the kids should be locked up or punished, I said they were criminals which is based on the facts presented by the police department. I also gave my opinion based on my experiences, knowing kids who have done this type go thing in the past. Let me be clear, I am not talking about all the party goers, but the ones who broke in repeatedly, stole the car, set the house on fire, urinated all over and burglarized the house. I am not talking about who a kid who was invited, who didn't know what was going on or once they found out left.


Posted by Try_again, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm

@recently graduated senior- I don't think that people are calling these kids bad kids because they drink and experiment with drugs. I see red flags in the students who committed the crimes of breaking in and entering, burglarizing, urinated, stole cars and so on. History and experience has taught me that these are not just good kids who made poor choices. Also, I don't think anyone here is surprised at the number of kids drinking and doing drugs, nothing has changed since I went to high school 20 years ago.n The good kids who made poor choices will grow and learn from this and move on with their lives hopefully in a positive direction.


Posted by Alarmed observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

Why should adults today NOT compare teenage behavior to a generation ago? Item: Children are now raised NOT to learn that actions have consequences. You see kids behaving obnoxiously in public today, and their complacent parents condoning it, as they wouldn't have in the past. Item: A Mountain View homeowner chased teenage vandals off his property, then police arrived -- called by the kids' parents, against the victim!

The issue here is that not all forces shaping kids' behavior for the worse are outside their parents' control, even if they prefer not to see that. "Mr. Ed's" comments above were harsh, but accurate.

In some cultures today, youths doing far milder vandalism face public whippings. The US wouldn't accept that, but I bet it stops fads like "open house parties," of which this case reportedly is just the latest. This one got publicity far beyond Mountain View already, so US justice has a chance here for instructive impact.


Posted by EJ in CA, a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

First, whoever entered the home initially is guilty of felony breaking and entering and is at the very least an accessory to every crime committed on the premises from that point forward. Those who committed crimes (theft, vandalism, burglary, auto theft,etc.) subsequently are guilty of those crimes and may be accessories to other crimes committed subsequent to their crimes. Those who simply showed up, realized what was going on and then left, but did not report the crimes are complicit and are likely guilty of being an accessory to crimes. So, that pretty much covers everyone who attended the parties. If they attended and did not know the house had been broken into, then they are guilty of trespassing. If they witnessed or were made aware of any crimes that had occurred, and did not report them, then they are likely guilty of being an accessory to the crimes as well.
So, let's be clear on what it means to be an accessory. It means you are equally guilty of the crime committed.
As nobody reported the crimes, they are all guilty. Many are guilty of being extremely stupid and you parents should be ashamed of yourselves for defending this behavior - this is not kids being kids and if you think it is then you need some serious counseling.
And let's be clear that the homeowner's insurance company will rebuild and replace their stuff AND THEN GO AFTER THE PARENTS FOR THE MONEY. ALL CHARGED WILL HAVE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ON THEM FOR REPAYMENT. And if the 18 year olds live at home then they are dependents and the parents assets will be subject to seizure.
Any of you defending the kids clearly have no idea what your own kids are doing so you might want to get ready for when they mess up this bad. I am amazed at the level of stupidity of some of the posters.
This whole thing is ridiculous and made worse by commenters defending criminals and even more by those trying to find culpability of the homeowners. Oh, and btw, even if the kid who lives there gave permission, he/she is not the homeowner and therefore has no standing to grant permission and therefore the b&e remains.
They committed a lot of crimes, many of them should get ready to do the time.
And to all you defenders, what would you be saying if they killed someone? Would you defend them if they crashed the car during a DUI? It really isn't much different.


Posted by Wow..., a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Well, I know the boy that lives there is no angel either....So don't judge..


Posted by EJ in CA, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:35 am

@Wow. What does that have to do with anything? Your comment implies they deserved this being done to their home.

If the boy that lives there is no angel, then at some point he will get caught doing whatever and suffer the consequences. But that is not the topic here.

Laws are laws and the system will ultimately judge.


Posted by Mr. Ed, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

"Don't judge", LOL.

Those kids are scum. They destroyed a home. Their parents should pay.


Posted by The neighbour, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Check this out:

The mountain view house fire will be aired on ABC 20/20, Ma 2 at 10ET:

Web Link


Posted by Taylor's friend, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Taylor is my friend and it makes me sad that this happened to him. He and Brandon aren't the only ones responsible and it sucks that they're getting the brunt of it when they're only a couple months older than the other people. It's not fair that they'd get prison time and the "children" just get community service and a slap on the wrist. This shouldn't be happening to Taylor, he's a good kid who made a bad choice. Maybe the homeowners should be blaming their neighbors too for not calling the cops.


Posted by CodeRed, a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:56 am

@Taylor's friend,

I sympathize with your sorrow about your friend, however nothing "happened to him", he did this to himself. It is important to understand that Taylor is not a "victim" in all of this, the homeowners are THE victims. People made bad choices and those choices were criminal in nature. You should be thankful that no one was injured and hope that your friend comes out the other side of this thing a better person.


Posted by What about the victim(s), a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Read through every post. So interesting how people speculate, quote hearsay as fact without knowing the facts and dissect/analyze a news article. It is clear who the "friends" of the accused are from reading this. A few people even try to fault the victims (e.g., did they leave a key, the neighbors hardly knew them, etc ...) or fault the neighbors.

There is a lot of talk about the accused; how good they are and how they are missing graduation. The homeowners are missing EVERYTHING. Every photo of their children's graduation. Lots of memories. Life completely interrupted. Just imagine if it happened to you. Now, would any of you break into someone's home? What is the difference between a so called "good kid" from a privilege background breaking into a house to party versus a kid from a non so privilege background?

If they are all found guilty of breaking in, theft and setting the house on fire, and it was your house, what do you think would be fair punishment? It's funny how our justice system does not make the guilty pay back the victims for their crimes. Will the minors be allowed to go off to college go on to live their lives? Will they ever have to pay restitution directly to their victims if found guilty?

This story should be about the victims and finding justice for them. We don't have all the facts except we know a bunch of kids broke into a home, caused a fire and a family lost everything. That's all we know. Focus should be on what happened.

If I was the victim, and these kids are in fact guilty of breaking in, theft and the fire (whether or not it was an accident), I would want the minors to go to college, get a career, and then write me a big check for many years to repay for the loss. I'd give them a chance to do better in society but, they should remember, for the rest of their lives, what they did to me and my family. They should understand the trauma they caused to the family.

And I can't help it ... but to the person who has the nerve to say the boy who lived in the house was 'no angel' ... it's irrelevant. If he hasn't broken into a house, burglarized it and caused it to burn down, I'd say he's an angel compared to the other kids.

And to the person who asked, "how can we be sure our kids are not there" ... some parents out there CAN be sure. But that's a whole other topic of conversation.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Palo Alto quietly gets new evening food truck market
By Elena Kadvany | 3 comments | 3,157 views

On Tour - The Highly Selective Liberal Arts Colleges: Occidental, Pitzer, and Scripps
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,901 views

See Me. Hear Me. Donít Fix Me.
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,617 views

Questions for Council Candidates--Housing
By Steve Levy | 24 comments | 1,340 views

Rock N Roll Green Beans
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 977 views