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Dozens of Poisoned Lawns Reported in San Jose

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A $1,000 reward is being offered in connection to a rash of unusual crimes that has left dozens of lawns poisoned in west San Jose. Nannette Miranda reports. (Published Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014)

    A $1,000 reward is being offered in connection to a rash of unusual crimes that have left dozens of lawns poisoned in west San Jose.

    Frustrated residents said someone is prowling around late night and lacing some sort of poison on people's front yards.

    "We feel totally violated," said Greg Riggs, who has been a victim of the bizarre crimes. "Everybody on this street worked really hard to get their lawns as nice, as you can see throughout this neighborhood, as they are."

    The victims appear to be random -- lawns on one side of the street could be fine, but across the street vandals hit the area hard, especially on Moreland Way.

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    The incidents began in late 2012, with just small strips of poison.

    Residents said the pace and size of the vandalism have recently dramatically increased.

    About 30 properties were targeted during this last round.

    Neighbors have collected money to offer a reward to capture the culprit and have sent a soil sample to a lab for analysis.

    Tony Anthan said his lawn, what he called his pride and joy, has been hit four times.

    "We're calling it lawn tagging because it's kind of like that," Anthan said. "They keep hitting us and hitting us."

    Anthan has installed cameras outside of his home in response to the vandalism.

    Residents of the normally quiet neighborhood have no clue as to why they are being targeted. Speculation includes retaliation for using too much water during a drought to keep the lawns beautiful.

    "Too much water, or jealous," Anthan said. "I don't know."

    Riggs, like Anthan, also is a four-time victim.

    "If the thrill of killing grass dies off, what's the next thrill going to be?" Riggs asked. "Are we going to be targeted? Are our homes going to be targeted? Are our families going to be targeted?

    San Jose police said they have no information on a suspect and victims are encouraged to file an online report.