In a city of 70,000 80 registered sex offenders call Mountain View home. Now, that group is being targeted because of their past.
"His front door was kicked in and a suspect entered with a wooden stick of some sort and began beating him about the head," said Liz Wylie, from the Mountain View Police Department. "He did indicate that he was there and doing this attack because of the victim's status as a sex offender."
That attack happened Thursday. Two weeks before, someone showed up at another sex offender's home with a Molotov cocktail and a bat making the same claim, but no one was hurt that time.
"I'm concerned it could spread," said John Hinkle, a criminal defense attorney.
Hinkle thinks someone is scouring Megan's Law - which is an on-line data base of registered sex offenders, and plotting their attacks based on information, like addresses, found on that list. According to the Megan's Law description, both victims committed crimes against children more than 15 years ago.
"We expect vigilantism, I'm surprised frankly, I haven't heard about more because this is the ultimate scarlet letter," said Hinkle.
"Sex offenders exist whether they're on a data base or not. The data base allows you to make wise choices for you and your family," said Wylie.
The police department blames the attacker not the list. On Friday, detectives mailed letters warning offenders about the crimes. Protecting sex offenders in the city is now a department priority.
"If you're a registered sex offender, you've served your time already so people should leave you alone," said Angela Tsoi, a school teacher.
"I find it hard to really defend a sex offender in a situation where other people are attacking them," said Todd Douglas, a parent. "I don't really think they should be allowed, you know, around everybody else."
Still, Mountain View Police insist crimes against anyone, including registered sex offenders, will not be tolerated.