Mountain View Voice

News - April 2, 2010

News Briefs

Binkley gets probation for second robbery

Sargent Binkley, the former Army Ranger who pleaded guilty to using a gun to rob a Mountain View Walgreens for pain pills in 2006, was sentenced to five years probation Friday for a similar robbery in San Carlos.

Binkley, 34, was sentenced in a deal made last year with San Mateo County prosecutors. He could not be formally sentenced until he was released from a psychiatric hospital in January.

Binkley is an Army veteran from Los Altos who attended Los Altos High School and West Point military academy. His case has been called a landmark case for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. During his trial for the Mountain View robbery, psychiatrists testified that Binkley developed PTSD during his time in Bosnia and Honduras and developed an addiction to painkillers after a hip injury that went untreated for years.

After pleading guilty in Santa Clara County court, Binkley was found by a jury to be insane at the time of his crime, thereby avoiding a jail sentence of up to 12 years. He was sentenced to Atascadero State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, where he reportedly underwent treatment for almost a year. He has since begun a substance abuse program at the VA hospital in Palo Alto.

Tax manager shoplifting, police say

A manager of a tax accounting service located inside Mountain View's Sears store was allegedly caught shoplifting from the store on Friday.

Through a security camera, the 56-year-old Palo Alto man was seen by security personnel putting $20 worth of LCD and plasma screen cleaner into his briefcase before walking out without paying, according to police. He was put under private arrest by Sears security, then released after getting a misdemeanor citation from police.

Police say the suspect was working under contract with Sears as a manager for accounting firm H&R Block.

— Daniel DeBolt

Firefighters douse one-alarm blaze on Middlefield

Mountain View firefighters quickly put out a one-alarm fire on the 900 block of W. Middlefield Road over the weekend that caused an estimated $50,000 in damage.

The Fire Department received a 911 call at 4:39 p.m. on Sunday, March 28 which reported a fire in an apartment complex at 905 W. Middlefield. Firefighters arrived to find the middle unit of a five-unit garage in flames, and brought the fire under control by 5 p.m.

One car was damaged and two adjacent garage spaces sustained smoke and water damage. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

— Don Frances

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