Crime briefs | July 1, 2011 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - July 1, 2011

Crime briefs

Safeway employees injured in scuffle

A Safeway employee was punched and knocked out while trying to detain teenagers suspected of shoplifting baby formula from the Safeway on California Street on Thursday, June 23, police said. Two teenaged suspects got away with accomplices, while a 13-year-old was arrested after more than $250 worth of baby formula was found in her purse, said Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie.

The struggle broke out when one store security employee tried to detain a girl of about 16 who was suspected of shoplifting formula. She resisted, and then another girl and a teenaged boy ran up and punched the 21-year-old employee in the face, Wylie said. They threw him on the hood of a car, where he briefly lost consciousness, and then kicked him when he was on the ground, she said.

The pair jumped into a gray SUV with several other teens and sped away, Wylie said.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old store security employee chased after the 13-year-old girl who had wrestled free while being handcuffed. He caught the girl, handcuffed her and carried her back to the store when she refused to walk, Wylie said. Ten cans of baby formula worth $254.59 were found in her purse and a gift big she had allegedly taken from the store, Wylie said.

The incident started when the 21-year-old Safeway employee noticed three girls walking into the store with what seemed to be empty purses. He followed them to the baby supplies aisle, where he observed them filling their purses with formula, and he coordinated with his 19-year-old colleague who was monitoring surveillance cameras, she said.

"Baby formula is expensive," Wylie said in an email. "People steal it and then sell it on the street for cheaper than the stores sell it. It's a lucrative crime and not an uncommon product to steal."

This incident had the earmarks of an organized crime for profit, and not a case of young mothers stealing baby formula they could not afford in order to feed their babies, Wylie said.

Mountain View detectives have taken over the investigation and are working to identify the remaining suspects, said Wylie. At least six people were in the SUV that fled the scene, she said.

The injured Safeway employee suffered scrapes and bruises, and had slurred speech and slight disorientation following the attack, Wylie said. He was taken to a local hospital.

—Andrea Gemmet

Bleeding man kicks, spits at officers

A San Jose man was arrested in Mountain View early Sunday morning with more than 10 grams of cocaine in his pocket, police said. The man reportedly resisted arrest, and kicked, spat at and yelled racial epithets at one of the arresting officers.

According to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie, a passerby flagged down an officer in the 800 block of Villa Street at about 2:12 a.m. to report two men who appeared to be injured and drunk.

The witness had seen the men near the intersection of Villa and Castro Streets with cuts on their arms and faces, Wylie said. Officers then found two men in a parking area behind 825 Villa St.

"Both subjects were highly intoxicated," Wylie said.

The men told the police that they had been stabbed, Wylie said. However, investigating officers determined that the men had been injured by climbing over a nearby fence topped with razor wire. The officers found fresh blood on a fence nearby and the men's injuries were consistent with the pattern of the razor wire.

As the officers asked more questions, one of the men, identified as 21-year-old Luis Morales, became belligerent, Wylie said. When officers attempted to handcuff him, he resisted. Once he was cuffed he began to kick at the officers.

He managed to kick one of the officers in the knee, Wylie said. Morales also yelled racial slurs at the same officer — a black woman — and attempted to spit on her.

Officers put more restraints on the man, including a spit shield to prevent him from spitting on anyone, as well as a "hobble," which held both of his feet together, Wylie said. Officers found 10.2 grams of cocaine in Morales' pocket.

Morales was taken to the hospital to be cleared for incarceration, Wylie said. At the hospital he kicked another officer in the chest. Morales was booked into county jail and charged with one count of resisting an officer; two counts of battery on a police officer; possession of a controlled substance; and being drunk in public.

The officer who was kicked in the knee complained of pain but declined treatment. The officer who was kicked in the chest was not injured.

The man accompanying Morales, a 23-year-old from Watsonville, complied with officers from the start, Wylie said. He was treated at the scene for his injuries and released without any charges.

Man shot, robbed

A local man was shot in the leg with a handgun and robbed of his pellet gun June 27, police said.

The victim, who was taken to a local hospital for surgery, told police that he was in his driveway in the 200 block of Del Medio Avenue when he was approached by two men who demanded his wallet at about 1:10 p.m., according to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie.

The 53-year-old Mountain View man refused to give the robbers his wallet, and both men attacked him, Wylie said. During the fight, one of the assailants shot the victim once in the thigh with a semi-automatic handgun, police said.

The bullet went all the way through his thigh, causing a serious injury, Wylie said.

The robbers did not take the man's wallet. However, they did steal the pellet gun the victim was holding at the time of the robbery, Wylie said. Apparently, the man was walking out of his garage with a pellet gun to shoot at a bird that was pestering him when he was approached by the robbers.

—Nick Veronin