Last night, an incident at The Great Mall sent a stir through Milpitas, prompting initial talk of an active shooting event which later made way for reports of a jewelry store robbery…
At around 7:33PM, a theft at Valliani Jewelers was called in. Milpitas Police Department (MPD) officers responded. Three suspects in dark clothing were said to have stolen jewelry and loudly battered store displays.
Officers turned up at the mall to discover a chaotic scene, wherein shoppers were running toward the exit doors, having initially mistaken the smashing sounds for gunfire. The Great Mall was soon formally evacuated, a process which the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, San Jose Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and Great Mall management collaborated to facilitate. The Great Mall is the second-largest mall in Northern California and occupies almost 1.4 million square feet.
During a fast and thorough search of the mall, the police found no evidence that a shooting had taken place. In the meantime, no victims resulted from the crime.
It took until about 10:40PM for the property to be turned back over to mall management. During the hours leading up to that transition, mall shoppers were gathered around the mall’s perimeter, many of them wondering when they’d be allowed to cross the police tape and barricades and regain access to their vehicles. As police helicopters circled overhead and rumors of a shooting spread in person and on social media, Milpitas experienced a dark reminder of the recent mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, just shy of one month ago. That event was immediately followed by other mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Milpitas Police Department personnel said that the response of local law enforcement would have been equally aggressive during any time period, and was unrelated to the recent shooting events.
At this time, although generic photographs of men being arrested are circulating on social media, no arrests have been announced in connection with yesterday’s Great Mall robbery.
Those with more info can call the MPD openly (408-586-2400) or anonymously (408-586-2500), or visit their website’s crime tip page: http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/crimetip