News

Man pleads not guilty to smashing church windows

A San Jose man who allegedly smashed windows at three East Palo Alto churches because he wanted to use the bathroom has pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court.


Robert Banks, 21, of San Jose, pleaded not guilty on Monday, Jan. 27, to charges of felony vandalism against a place of worship. Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Robert Banks, 21, was charged with three felony vandalism counts for the Jan. 26 incidents.

East Palo Alto police found him at 4 a.m. that morning allegedly smashing a church window with a shovel. Officers also found two other nearby churches with smashed windows.

The three churches were the Church of Living God and Mt. Olive Missionary Church on Pulgas Avenue, and Street Open Door Church of God on O'Connor Street, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said.

Banks has allegedly claimed he needed to go to the bathroom, but he could not find any bathrooms in the churches. The estimated damage is $5,000.

Banks will be represented through the county's private defender program. He will return to court Feb. 24 for a preliminary hearing.

He has been released on "supervised own recognizance" with a condition to stay at least 100 yards away from all three churches, the DA's office said.

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