Alleged vandals caught in the act by police | July 4, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 4, 2012

Alleged vandals caught in the act by police

by Sandy Brundage

A daylong spree of smashing car windows in Menlo Park came to an abrupt end when police responded to a call of vandalism in progress.

At the scene: A red Ford 2002 pickup truck like the one spotted at the scenes of earlier crimes, and two suspects. A third suspect turned up during the course of the investigation, Menlo Park police said.

Police spokeswoman Nicole Acker said investigators are still figuring out whether the trio carried out all the recent attacks on inanimate objects in Menlo Park: Eight car windows shattered by BB gun on June 25 alone; another five windshields broken last week; and four mailboxes blown up or beaten during the past three weeks.

One mailbox belonged to the new Menlo Park home of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, sources said. The firecracker not only destroyed the box, but also the mail, leading some to wonder whether the crime could be charged as a federal offense.

Police said the crimes appeared random. To see a map of locations, go to

Ryan Anthony Mattei, 18, was arrested around 9 p.m. on June 25, then released pending further investigation. Police said his two companions, a 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, were taken into custody and then released to their parents after admitting to several incidents of vandalism.