'Very alarming': Hikers respond to PD safety alert after 2 attacks on Los Gatos trails

Among the list of tips from police are to walk in pairs, let someone know your plans, and lower the volume of your earbuds.
LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- This weekend's warm weather is sure to draw people outdoors. For those in the South Bay, the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department (LGMSPD) put out a Community Safety Alert to warn people about a pair of recent trail attacks at the Saint Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve.

The signs read loud and clear, "ASSAULT SUSPECT AT LARGE."

Posts by the LGMSPD along trails in the area come only days after the latest attack.

"Definitely caught my attention," San Jose resident Ellen Middaugh told ABC7 News, after her Friday afternoon hike. "I definitely had a thought of... should we go on this hike? But I looked around and there were still people."

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There have been two recent attacks along walking trails in the area. The first happened around 6:15 p.m. on January 13. Police say a man armed with a knife threatened and attacked two people on the Jones Trail.

Then on January 30 at about 5:10 p.m., a man with a similar description attacked a hiker from behind on the Manzanita Trail.

"I could see where there could be some issues," Los Gatos Resident John Reinke said, as he finished his walk. "Because parts of this trail are pretty remote."

On Friday afternoon, among the many hikers was a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Ranger parked along the walking trail.

The added layer of protection was a welcome sight for those simply wanting to get outdoors after working from home.

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Mountain View Police say they're looking for two assault suspects Thursday night after a woman says she was attacked on Stevens Creek Trail.

"This is like a safe place to just exercise. You know, work from home, get out of the house," Marrisa Auby from Santa Clara shared. "And the fact that people are still doing bad things is very alarming."

Among the list of tips from police, the department is urging people to walk in pairs, let someone know your plans, and lower the volume of your earbuds.

"I did like keep one earbud out so that I could hear around me," Middaugh added. "But having the dog, I feel pretty safe. He's pretty good at noticing things."

Mountain View resident Sarah Caylor shared, "I personally try not to go out hiking alone, just 'cause something can happen. I don't have really great cell reception out here anyway."

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Police also suggest staying off the trails when it's dark out.

John Reinke told ABC7 News, "I hope they can track down whoever was doing that and try to prevent anything like that from happening again."

According to LGMSPD, each victim described their attacker as a Hispanic man, approximately 5' 5" tall, 150-pounds, wearing all dark clothing, with a possible bandana face covering.

In the second incident, PD said the man wore a dark-colored hiking style backpack.

ABC7 News reached out to LGMSPD on Friday. Sgt. Katherine Mann said the department is not releasing any additional information at this time.

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