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[whitespace] Sheriffs arrest suspects in string of burglaries

Saratoga--A burglary spree that began on Jan. 29 came to an abrupt halt as the sheriff's office arrested three men suspected of committing burglaries in Campbell, Cupertino and Saratoga.

The suspects, Charles Harrington, 18, of San Jose; Terence McCarthy, 20, of Campbell, and Efrin Ortiz, 18, of Campbell were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy to commit burglary. One of the men has a prior record not related to burglary. It was the first-time offense for the other two.

So far, the suspects have been linked to 13 burglaries that occurred the week of Jan. 29 through Feb. 5. Deputies are continuing the investigation, said Sgt. Jose Salcido, the detective working on the case.

The men were arrested on Feb. 5 by Deputy Joseph Waldherr, who recognized the description of the suspects' van, a gold large American model from the late 1960s, from an earlier radio broadcast.

"Witnesses had given us the license plate number with the exception they were off on one letter," Salcido said.

Waldherr was monitoring traffic near West Valley College when he spotted the car. He stopped the car and found stolen property from a Cupertino burglary, said Sgt. John Hirokawa, Sheriff's spokesman.

The car had been spotted at two prior burglaries, an interrupted burglary at the 10500 block of Dempster Avenue in Cupertino on Feb. 5 and at a burglary on Agonne Drive in Saratoga on Feb. 3.

Six of the 13 burglaries the trio have been linked to so far occurred on Agonne Drive in Saratoga. Two of the burglaries occurred on Peninsula Avenue in Cupertino.

Following the arrest, Salcido obtained a search warrant for Ortiz's Campbell home and found stolen jewelry, stereo equipment and a handgun.

A Playstation game system linked to an Oct. 2, 1998 burglary in Campbell was also recovered at Ortiz's home

The little boy the game system was stolen from had written his name on it, Salcido said.

The suspects arrested are not involved in the rash of burglaries that seemed to target the Asian community in Cupertino from March to October.

"These guys have been taking VCR's, CD players, games, Nintendo 64 systems and a little bit of jewelry and money. They were filling their cars," Salcido said. "The other burglars were taking what can be carried in their pockets without being detected."

Since Nov. 1, there have been 20 more burglaries in Sunnyvale, San Jose and Cupertino that the Sheriff's Office is attributing to the suspects targeting Asian neighborhoods, Salcido said.

Since October, Sgt. Steve Angus has established five Neighborhood Watch groups. "We don't have enough statistics to say that [burglaries] have decreased," Angus said. "But has the Neighborhood Watch neighborhoods been hit with burglaries? No."

Anyone with additional information regarding either case is asked to contact Sgt. Jose Salcido at 567-9721 or 299-2211. To set up a Neighborhood Watch for your area, contact Sgt. Steve Angus at 777-3177.
Michelle Ku

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