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Suspect identified in string of Morgan Hill burglaries

Morgan Hill police have named a suspect in connection to a recent spate of burglaries and their man has a few very identifying characteristics that could result in an attempt to flee the jurisdiction. Meanwhile, police are also investigating a series of unrelated crimes that have plagued the city in recent weeks.

According to a press release issued by the Morgan Hill Police Department, authorities believe 21-year-old Jose Steven Torres committed seven burglaries throughout the city between December 2011 and early January.

Torres was identified by multiple witnesses as having been seen in the immediate area of where some of the burglaries occurred, the release read. Additionally, a fingerprint found at the scene of one of the burglaries was positively matched to the suspect.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has officially filed charges against Torres for one count of burglary and one count of attempted burglary. He currently has a $50,000 warrant out for his arrest in connection with the crimes.

Torres is described as being about 5’7” and 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He may stand out due to multiple tattoos on his arms and hands and his strong New York accent, police say.

“MHPD has attempted to contact Torres at his residence and the homes of his acquaintances and met with negative results,” Sgt. Troy Hoefling said in the release. “Torres is aware that he is wanted and will flee.”

Anyone with information on Torres or his whereabouts is urged to contact Morgan Hill police at (408) 779-2101.

In an unrelated matter, MHPD is also investigating two additional residential burglaries that Torres is not believed to be responsible for. The incidents were reported on Monday between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The homes targeted were located on Grand Prix Avenue and Lancia Drive.

In these more recent cases, witnesses reported seeing three or four Filipino or Asian men in a white or silver Honda or Acura at or near the residences at the time of the burglaries. Witnesses described the men as being nicely dressed, in slacks and polo-type shirts.

According to Hoefling, police believe the suspects approach the front door and knock to determine if anyone is home before burglarizing the residences.

“They probably do this several times in an attempt to get you to answer the door,” Hoefling said. “If you answer, they probably make up a story about sales [or] cleaning. If nobody answers, they will make their way to the side or rear of the property and attempt to gain entry.”

In Monday’s cases, the suspects entered by removing screens and checking for unlocked windows. They then ransacked the houses, taking various items and leaving other valuables behind.

Residents are being reminded to make sure all doors and windows are locked and secured before leaving their homes.

Finally, police have received two reports about suspects peeping into windows after entering the backyards of residences on Magnolia Avenue and Trail Drive. In both cases, the suspect was spotted by the homeowners and fled the scene on foot. Police are not sure if the suspect or suspects are casing the homes for potential future burglaries or if they are simply peeping toms.

Anyone with information on these crimes is asked to contact MHPD at (408) 779-2101.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867 (STOP).

Courtesy of Susie Fowkes/Santa Clara County Crime Examiner