News - June 1, 2011

Crime briefs: Three homes burgled in one day

A daytime burglar targeted three Menlo Park homes in the 300 block of Arbor Road in one day.

Demonstrating some flexibility in the matter of choosing an entry point, the unknown suspect clambered through a front window, a rear window, and an unlocked back door on May 23, according to police.

The fruits of such illicit labor were not great — so far only a Google TV receiver and a Nintendo Wii, total value about $600, were reported stolen. One victim noticed rummaged drawers, but no missing items.

Later in the week, another Wii vanished, this time in the 300 block of Grayson Court. A neighbor spotted someone suspicious leaving the home around 9:30 p.m. carrying stolen property that turned out to include a television and pair of earrings as well as the game console, for an estimated total value of $1,400. According to police, the unknown suspect broke in through a door at the back of the house.

Drug buy turns into robbery

The assault of an 18-year-old man sitting in a car parked at Grayson Court and Arnold Way in Menlo Park was linked to an appointment to buy marijuana, according to the district attorney's office.

Samson Ahokava, 19, Navandeep Kang, 18, and Westin Tapia, 18, reportedly approached the car on the night of May 20. The trio surrounded and beat the victim, tearing open his ear, the district attorney's office said. They fled in a 2006 Volvo reportedly driven by Mr. Kang, but police cut the getaway short.

They pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court on May 23. So far only Mr. Kang has posted the $50,000 bail; all three men return to court in June.

Home-invasion victim recovering

An 88-year-old Menlo Park man remains hospitalized in stable condition after being knocked unconscious during a home invasion, according to Menlo Park police.

An early-morning call led police to his home in the 1000 block of Windermere Avenue on May 22. He told investigators that two suspects kicked open a side door in the garage and ransacked the home around 5:15 a.m. before fleeing.

One suspect, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face, told the victim he had a gun.

Residents of homes in the 600 block of Central Avenue and the 800 block of Laurel Avenue in Menlo Park reported someone tried to kick in their front doors as well that morning. One homeowner described seeing a 5 foot 10 inch black man, about 20 years old, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with dark shoes.

Investigators think the incidents could be related, according to police spokeswoman Nicole Acker. Police ask that anyone with information contact Sgt. Tim Brackett or Detective Christine Powell at 330-6300.

Bookkeeper sentenced for embezzlement

Although she initially ruled that a bookkeeper who had embezzled thousands of dollars from Roger Reynolds Nursery deserved a longer jail sentence than promised under a plea bargain, Judge Lisa Novak reversed course on May 23.

With no objection from the prosecution, Evette Christine Weiler, 32, received one year in county jail with credit for 225 days served and five years' supervised probation, according to district attorney's office.

The Fremont woman must also pay $139,929 restitution to the Menlo Park nursery and can no longer work as a bookkeeper or accountant. She reinstated a no-contest plea after the judge ultimately decided against state prison time.

Ms. Weiler attracted suspicion after vendors complained about not getting paid and employee health insurance coverage lapsed for lack of payment, according to the district attorney's office. She worked at the nursery for almost two years.

In January, auditors discovered "dozens of checks" written to a Fremont business called "When Every Penny Counts," police reported. Prosecutors said that Ms. Weiler concealed the embezzlement by transferring money from the nursery's 401K retirement plan.


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