Home invasion criminals target San Jose neighborhood

San Jose police on Tuesday released car dash-cam video that shows a home invasion in progress. Police investigators said this type of surveillance video is key in building a case against these alleged criminals.

However, one family is left shaken, and one neighborhood is now living in fear.

"It was a great neighborhood, until Memorial Day weekend," said Sandeep Potdar, who purchased his home in the Berryessa section of San Jose nine months ago.

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He said a burglary crew hit two homes Memorial Day weekend. In one of the crimes, dash cam video shows his neighbor coming home, only to find her husband held at gunpoint. And the couple’s 1-year-old was inside the home at the time.

"It looks like six people came in and jumped over a back fence. Came in through a window. One of them had a gun. And they just took everything. They held them hostage," said Potdar.

The father was held at gunpoint, while the criminals allegedly threatened to kill his child. They took debit cards, electronics, jewelry, passports, and ID cards.

Their rampage ended prematurely because the homeowner’s wife returned. As the dash cam video shows, the woman seems panicked at what she sees and calls 911. She then begins blowing her horn. Those actions ultimately scared the criminals away.

"It’s absolutely traumatic," said Steve Aponte, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

He said as remote work fades from the norm, criminals are increasingly targeting houses believed to be empty, or with few occupants inside.

Two days before this home invasion, four men burglarized an elderly woman’s home four blocks away.

"Make sure you talk to your neighbors. Make sure that you’re aware that your cameras are on. make sure you have a safety net so that if something happens, you have somebody there to take care of your residence," said Aponte.

Potdar said 40 neighborhood residents have joined an on-line watch group. But in the immediate aftermath, many are afraid to let their children play outside.

"It’s disrupted everything. Peace in the neighborhood," said Potdar. "We used to have (keep) your doors open, your windows open. We’ve just kept everything closed. I’ve upgraded some of the locks and security. And it’s just a very scary feeling."

Detectives said the minivan used in the crime was stolen hours beforehand.It has since been located and returned to the owner.

Detectives believe they’ll have enough evidence to identify the group of criminals in the coming days.

Jesse Gary is a reporter in the station's South Bay Bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv.