Merchants become detectives and track down theft suspect

Cook’s Junction owner Linda Janes, center, and daughters Emma, left, and Katherine.
Cook’s Junction owner Linda Janes, center, and daughters Emma, left, and Katherine.

This story was originally printed in the Daily Post on Thursday, Oct. 31. Only a fraction of the stories the Post prints are on this website. To get all of the local news, pick up a copy of the Daily Post every morning at 1,000 mid-Peninsula locations.

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

Two Los Altos women helped catch a man who allegedly broke into a store’s office and stuffed cash in his pockets. The two decided to take action after deciding the police were moving too slowly.

George Nunnally, 66, was arrested by Los Altos police on Oct. 25 on suspicion of burglarizing kitchenware store Cook’s Junction, according to Sgt. Steven Spillman. Katherine Janes, 26, and her sister Emma Janes, 28, who work at Cook’s Junction, which is owned by their mother, said they helped catch the thief. The sisters discovered that $240 had been taken from the store’s office on Oct. 24, according to Katherine Janes.

They reviewed security footage from the day and saw a man using their office key to get into the store office where he found the store’s money drawer and stole the cash, according to Janes.

Other businesses saw an increase in thefts

Janes said she reported the incident to the police, but felt that Officer Levi Lnenicka, who came to the store, was unhelpful and seemed “annoyed” to have been called in over to deal with a small crime.
The sisters spoke with other local business people about the theft.

Janes said they learned that the other business people felt there had been an increase in thefts in downtown Los Altos over the past year.

The next day, the sisters made fliers with a photo of the thief from the video. They passed the fliers out to other shops and pasted them on their store wall.

To their surprise, the thief returned to the store the day after the theft. He came in and then quickly left, said Janes. She speculated that he might have noticed the flier with his face on it. After calling the cops, the sisters trailed the man into Linden Tree Books, where they each waited at a different exit in case he tried to make an escape.

As he left the store, the police had arrived and arrested him.

Police response

Sgt. Spillman said he wasn’t working during the incident and could not confirm the involvement of the Janes sisters. Janes said the arresting officer, Miguel Wong, was helpful and took her concerns seriously. But she said her experience with officer Lnenicka made her feel that the police department needs to take more action on business crimes.

“In the very beginning it seemed like (the police) didn’t even care,” she said. “I think it’s important to feel like we can depend on our local police station to take any crimes seriously, even if it’s what they would call a petty theft.”

Nunnally was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County jail. He hasn’t been charged with any other crimes yet, but police believe he has burglarized other stores, said Spillman.

5 Comments

  1. >Let’s try to remember we’re only getting one side of the story here…

    No, I won’t try and suggest others not expend that effort. Why? For the simple reason the City and/or the PD (purportedly the “other side of the story here”) had a chance to represent their “side” and opted not to for reasons only privy to themselves.

    Also, adding weight to what the Janes are quoted as stating about the PD’s lack of follow through, it is worth noting the City and PD officers are defendants in ongoing litigation in Federal Court alleging their unequal treatment of residents, discrimination, and conspiracy to retaliate, harass, and cover up their actions under color of law.

    Indeed, what is their “side of the story”, Kait?

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