BY KYLE MARTIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has dropped charges against a landlady who was arrested for allegedly having four acquaintances remove a Mountain View family from a rent controlled apartment by turning off the power and trying to break open the door.
Prosecutors didn’t have sufficient evidence to convict landlord Reenu Saini, of Sunnyvale, who was arrested along with four San Jose residents in August 2019, said DA spokesman Sean Webby.
Police claimed the defendants allegedly tried to evict a family of four from a rent-controlled Mountain View apartment at 2101 Rock St. that was owned by Saini.
Police said they received a call about burglars at the home and arrived to find all five of the suspects in the front yard. Police said one man tried to use a knife to pry open the front door, which almost injured one of the apartment occupants, who was trying to keep the door closed.
Saini’s attorney, Redwood City lawyer Charles J. Smith, previously argued that the tenants committed fraud in order to reside at the apartment, and said one of the tenants had falsified bank records to make it seem like they had paid rent. Smith argued that Saini had a right to retake her property by force because the tenants had defrauded her.
Only two people were convicted in the case.
Steven Carling pleaded no contest to charges of felony assault with force likely to cause bodily injury, making criminal threats (a misdemeanor) and witness dissuasion (also a misdemeanor). He got seven and a half months in the county jail and three years of probation.
And Lori Walston pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of being an accessory to the burglary. She received two months in jail and three years of probation.
Police also arrested Debra McNeil and Brian Ross for attempted robbery, burglary of an inhabited dwelling and conspiracy to commit a crime during the Aug. 26, 2019 home invasion.
Police said officers saw McNeil and Ross standing outside the home that evening, with McNeil walking on the sidewalk in front of the home and Ross standing on the walkway close to the front door. Prosecutors later dropped charges against McNeil and Ross, citing insufficient evidence.