County officials feared Central Valley gangs were coming here to loot

San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy

Daily post Staff Writer

San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said that he imposed the county’s two-day curfew, which expired Wednesday, because the county had received information about potential mass looting by gangs from the Central Valley.

Some of the threats included posts on social media about a “San Mateo County looting night” and others telling people who attended a protest in Redwood City on Tuesday to incite violence. However, no violence was reported during the protest.

Callagy also said he was worried the county would be targeted by looters who were using the protests as cover to commit crimes since the county was one of the only Bay Area jurisdictions without a curfew.

While the curfew was for 8:30, officers were told they shouldn’t halt protests if they went past that time and were peaceful. “(The curfew was) in no way an attempt to disturb that protest,” Callagy said. “It was really an attempt to make sure those agitators from the outside … that wanted to use this peaceful protest for their own purposes of destruction and looting did not have that opportunity.”

Callagy also noted that there had been some looting in the county prior to Tuesday’s protest.

On Sunday night, a group of people broke into Geoffrey’s Diamond’s and Goldsmith Jewelry Store at 1312 Laurel St. in San Carlos and took thousands of dollars in merchandise. No one has been arrested in connection with the heist.

Earlier Sunday, three people from Richmond and Oakland broke into a Best Buy in Colma and stole about $7,000 worth of electronics. A group of about 15 had broken into the same Best Buy and got away with about $150,000 worth of electronics, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

50-100 cars circling Stanford Mall

Also Sunday, Palo Alto police received a tip that people were on their way to loot stores in Stanford Shopping Center. Within an hour, 50-100 cars were circling the mall. But because police were patrolling the area, no looting occurred.

In fact, Menlo Park police arrested two people at Ravenswood Avenue and Laurel Street who were en route to Stanford and officers noted items with security tags still on them. Arrested was Lamar Fontenot, 23, of Antioch, and Jeremiah Thomas, 18, of Suisun City.

Police said they had a GPS device that was giving them directions to Stanford Shopping Center when they were stopped. Items found in the car include clothing and a cash register that were stolen from stores in Walnut Creek that were looted earlier in the day, police said.

Callagy said yesterday that he has no plans to extend the curfew that expired Wednesday morning.

Curfew arrests

There were arrests for violating the 8:30 p.m. curfew.

In Menlo Park at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday, police got a report of two vehicles at Kenwood Drive and Middle Avenue of people talking about having stolen items.

Officers detained the five people and booked them on various charges, but all were hit with disobeying curfew.

Two of the people were not from San Mateo County — Jamal Jackson, 25, is from Hayward and Pernell Junter Jr., 36, is from San Jose. Jackson was arrested for having a concealed weapon in a vehicle and having a loaded firearm in a public place. The other three — Ismael Zavala Garcia, 18, Jose Espina Gonzalez, 19 and Cristian Rodriguez Arellano, 18 were all from Redwood City.