An elderly couple arrived at their Morgan Hill home just before lunchtime Thursday and opened their garage door to find a strange mini-van in their parking spot with a man they had never seen before inside the vehicle, police said.
The couple asked the man what he was doing at their home on the 400 block of Diana Avenue east of downtown Morgan Hill, and he said he traveled there with his friends – one of whom told him the house belonged to his grandparents who needed help moving, according to Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Troy Hoefling.
The man, later identified as Mohamed Omer, 23 of San Jose, remained in the garage while the couple, knowing his story to be false, called Morgan Hill police, Hoefling said. Police arrived about 11:30 a.m. and determined what really happened was Omer and two other suspects who had fled on foot before officers arrived were in the process of burglarizing the home, Hoefling said.
Omer’s gold Honda Odyssey was parked inside the victim’s garage, and police found it was loaded with thousands of dollars worth of the victim’s property, Hoefling said.
During the course of the investigation, the other two suspects were identified and eventually located at a nearby restaurant, police said. They were identified Joseph Barrios, 28, and a 13-year-old male juvenile, both of San Jose.
The couple told police a few weeks ago they had lost the keys to their vehicle and their garage door remote-controlled opener, but did not report the loss to police, Hoefling said.
While searching the Honda mini-van, police found the garage door opener and keys inside the suspicious vehicle, Hoefling said. Police do not yet know how the suspects acquired those items.
Also from inside the mini-van officers removed items that belonged to the couple who live at the home, which the suspects had apparently loaded up before the residents arrived, police said. The stolen items included two chainsaws, a set of electric hedge trimmers, an electric Skilsaw and other tools. All of the items the suspected burglars tried to steal were recovered.
The residents did not want to comment on the incident or provide their names.
As police removed the couple’s items from the Honda mini-van, the male victim told officers, “That’s my stuff.”
When an officer removed a marijuana bong from the vehicle and asked the residents if the item belonged to them, the male victim laughed and said it did not belong to the residents.
All three suspects were arrested on suspicion of residential burglary, Hoefling said. Omer and Barrios were booked at Santa Clara County Jail, and the juvenile was sent to Santa Clara County Jail.
Police remind residents to report lost or stolen property to the police department immediately. The missing garage door opener could have been disabled, preventing the suspects from easily entering the garage, Hoefling added.
Anyone with information about this residential burglary can contact Morgan Hill police at (408) 779-2101, or the anonymous tip line at (408) 947-7867.