News

Man with alleged 'Boogaloo' ties arrested for threatening county health officer

Investigators say Gilroy resident sent 24 profane letters to Dr. Sara Cody

A Gilroy resident who investigators believe has ties to the militant, far-right "Boogaloo" movement was arrested last week for allegedly sending more than 20 threatening and profane letters to Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

On Aug. 27, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office arrested Alan Viarengo, 55, for allegedly writing 24 threatening and profane letters to Dr. Sara Cody. Courtesy Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that it had arrested 55-year-old Alan Viarengo on charges of stalking and threatening a public official, and found an arsenal of weapons, ammunition and explosives at his home. Detectives zeroed in on Viarengo after they positively identified his fingerprints on numerous threatening and profane letters that were sent to Cody and then watched him drop off another letter addressed to Cody with similar threatening messages.

Detectives also found Viarengo's fingerprint on a letter that had been sent to the widow of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, a deputy in the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office who was fatally shot on June 6 while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in Boulder Creek, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. The letter mocked the death of Gutzwiller and wished death upon more law enforcement officers.

Detectives believe Viarengo had sent a total of 24 letters to Cody. These letters became "increasingly aggressive, offensive and threatening," according to the news release. They requested a warrant from the District Attorney's Office for Viarengo's arrest for felony stalking and threatening a public official.

According to the news release, Viarengo's letters suggested that he is a member of the loosely organized "Boogaloo" movement. Its members, conspicuous for wearing tactical gear and Hawaiian shirts during demonstrations, are known for anti-government and pro-gun views.

Sponsored
...
6 Steps to master the home buying process during a pandemic

Your no-stress guide to buying a home no matter what the circumstance.

...
Sponsored
6 Steps to master the home buying process during a pandemic

Your no-stress guide to buying a home no matter what the circumstance.

Viarengo was arrested on Aug. 27 at his home in Gilroy, according to the news release. Detectives also found 138 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosive material at his home.

He was arraigned on Monday and scheduled for a plea hearing Tuesday afternoon, according to online Santa Clara County Superior Court records.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 408-808-4500 or the Investigative Services anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.

Cody, who holds a central role in Bay Area's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of a growing roster of public health professionals to face threats since March, when the onset of the pandemic prompted them to issue shelter-in-place orders. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Diseases and the nation's leading infectious disease officer, told CNN last month that he had received death threats. As this news organization has previously reported, numerous county health officers in California have abruptly resigned during the pandemic due to stress, threats or other reasons.

In Santa Clara County, the sheriff's office initiated a 24-hour security detail to protect Cody after she began receiving irate and profane letters, according to the news release. Made up of deputies, sergeants and detectives, the security detail was responsible for collecting, vetting, processing and documenting any threatening correspondence to Cody.

The county's Department of Public Health said in a July statement that while the public health officer's decisions have saved thousands of lives during the pandemic, they have "placed a spotlight that has made our public health officer the target of serious threats from a few individuals."

"We condemn any effort to harm or intimidate our public health officer, an individual who deserves our respect and appreciation for having the bravery to make the tough calls needed to protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents, including the most vulnerable members of our community," the county's announcement stated.

Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Sue Dremann contributed to this report.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

...
Sponsored
Wonders of the water: Meet the tide pool whisperer of the San Mateo coastline

Dive into the aquatic oddities, coastal creatures and other rapidly-disappearing denizens of the Peninsula shores.

Man with alleged 'Boogaloo' ties arrested for threatening county health officer

Investigators say Gilroy resident sent 24 profane letters to Dr. Sara Cody

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 2:50 pm

A Gilroy resident who investigators believe has ties to the militant, far-right "Boogaloo" movement was arrested last week for allegedly sending more than 20 threatening and profane letters to Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that it had arrested 55-year-old Alan Viarengo on charges of stalking and threatening a public official, and found an arsenal of weapons, ammunition and explosives at his home. Detectives zeroed in on Viarengo after they positively identified his fingerprints on numerous threatening and profane letters that were sent to Cody and then watched him drop off another letter addressed to Cody with similar threatening messages.

Detectives also found Viarengo's fingerprint on a letter that had been sent to the widow of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, a deputy in the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office who was fatally shot on June 6 while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in Boulder Creek, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. The letter mocked the death of Gutzwiller and wished death upon more law enforcement officers.

Detectives believe Viarengo had sent a total of 24 letters to Cody. These letters became "increasingly aggressive, offensive and threatening," according to the news release. They requested a warrant from the District Attorney's Office for Viarengo's arrest for felony stalking and threatening a public official.

According to the news release, Viarengo's letters suggested that he is a member of the loosely organized "Boogaloo" movement. Its members, conspicuous for wearing tactical gear and Hawaiian shirts during demonstrations, are known for anti-government and pro-gun views.

Viarengo was arrested on Aug. 27 at his home in Gilroy, according to the news release. Detectives also found 138 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosive material at his home.

He was arraigned on Monday and scheduled for a plea hearing Tuesday afternoon, according to online Santa Clara County Superior Court records.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 408-808-4500 or the Investigative Services anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.

Cody, who holds a central role in Bay Area's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of a growing roster of public health professionals to face threats since March, when the onset of the pandemic prompted them to issue shelter-in-place orders. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Diseases and the nation's leading infectious disease officer, told CNN last month that he had received death threats. As this news organization has previously reported, numerous county health officers in California have abruptly resigned during the pandemic due to stress, threats or other reasons.

In Santa Clara County, the sheriff's office initiated a 24-hour security detail to protect Cody after she began receiving irate and profane letters, according to the news release. Made up of deputies, sergeants and detectives, the security detail was responsible for collecting, vetting, processing and documenting any threatening correspondence to Cody.

The county's Department of Public Health said in a July statement that while the public health officer's decisions have saved thousands of lives during the pandemic, they have "placed a spotlight that has made our public health officer the target of serious threats from a few individuals."

"We condemn any effort to harm or intimidate our public health officer, an individual who deserves our respect and appreciation for having the bravery to make the tough calls needed to protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents, including the most vulnerable members of our community," the county's announcement stated.

Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Sue Dremann contributed to this report.

Comments

John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2020 at 9:36 am
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 9:36 am
8 people like this

Anti-cop, “resistance” to government authorities... sounds familiar.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:47 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:47 pm
Like this comment

Thankfully he didn't follow through with any threats.


Ardan Michael Blum
Registered user
Downtown North
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
Ardan Michael Blum, Downtown North
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
7 people like this

I find that the focus on the selection/collection of weapons that this person owns is out of place. Let him be judged for his alledged harrasement of a public health officer and not his personal choices based on our Constitution.

Again - THIS IS NOT A CRIME, unless I missed something here: "(...) Detectives also found 138 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosive material at his home."


Educator
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm
Educator, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:56 pm
22 people like this

Ardan- perhaps we need to rethink allowing dangerous individuals to have access to these things.


Ardan Michael Blum
Registered user
Downtown North
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Ardan Michael Blum, Downtown North
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm
4 people like this

[Post removed.]


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm
9 people like this

[Post removed.]


ResidentX
Registered user
Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2020 at 10:40 pm
ResidentX, Barron Park
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


d. erp.
Registered user
Barron Park
on Sep 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm
d. erp., Barron Park
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm
2 people like this

He was arrested for his crime, not the guns. Why are people making as if it's otherwise. It's never been otherwise for a second. You who are inventing "2nd Amendment" issues are detached from reality. He was arrested for the threats. The part of his personality that are responsible for the threats are legible in his mugshot. Good God. Wake up, already.


Local
Registered user
Stanford
on Sep 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm
Local, Stanford
Registered user
on Sep 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm
4 people like this

This is why we need CalExit - join Oregon, Washington and Hawaii to make the WUSA. We would be a rich, educated and Trump-free country. We could then deport these gun crazies to Trump-USA where they love gun and ammo.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.