12 arrests in San Jose 'Renaissance Gang' crimes, several are minors

A dozen people are behind bars Tuesday night in San Jose, after police cracked what they’re describing as a “Renaissance Gang.”

Since last summer, the 12 are accused of committing dozens of crimes all over the city. Five are juveniles and seven are adults, although San Jose police say those adults turned 18 within the past year. Investigators say the group not affiliated with any neighborhood or family. And not committing their crimes for territory or money.

“They’re clearly an organized group of criminals acting in concert for the purpose of the gang,” said Lt. Paul Joseph, of the San Jose police department’s robbery unit.

He says the department started investigating the gang of 12 last Spring.

January 10, the department’s robbery unit arrested seven adults, along with five juveniles, many of whom police say used a house in the 600-block of Lotus Street as a base of operations.

Investigators say dating back to Summer 2017, the group is responsible for 30 crimes all over the city. The acts range from robbery to carjacking, assault to drug and fire arms possession.

“It’s not shocking at all. Very frequently, we’re arresting juvenile for really serious and violent crimes. In particular armed robberies and carjackings. So this is fairly consistent with what we’ve seen all year,” said Lt. Joseph.

He pointed to one instance, at Flanagan Drive and South King Road, whee a man who thought he was meeting a women he met on-line, was instead attacked by three gang members, and beaten with a brick. The victim suffered a fractured skull. The threat of crime is affecting area residents such as Maria Ahaeo, who was walking her dog “Wayne” outside her apartment complex across the street from the crime scene.

“I walk early. But not in the night. I never go after 10 out of my house. Because I am scared,” she said.

In another instance, police say some gang members used an AR-15 semi-automatic assault riffle to commit a carjacking at McKee and North White Roads..

“The area has really changed in the last, I’ve only been here six years. But from the people I talk to, it’s really changed. Like, it’s gone from sweet and nice to crazy,” said Joel Whittom, who lives a half block from the intersection where the carjacking occurred.

Investigators say the mother of one gang member is also now behind bars, for child endangerment. They say the house where she and the child live, in the 600-block of Lotus, was littered with loose rounds of ammunition and spent shell casings.

“This group is probably one of the more prolific, one of the more long-standing that we’ve seen,” said Lt. Joseph.

The seven adults are being held in the main county jail. The five juveniles are being held in the county juvenile detention center. All face a laundry list of crimes. In addition to the arrests, detectives also recovered seven weapons, one of the carjacked vehicles, stolen property such as laptop computers, and $2,000 in cash.