A Silicon Valley man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stalking four teens after authorities discovered inside his home a trove of gifts and collages, with some photographs of young girls snipped into heart shapes, deputies said.
Rajeev Sanhi, 35, of Cupertino was taken into custody on suspicion of stalking and “annoying” the girls, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities say they have uncovered evidence that links Sanhi to at least 15 other girls and similar incidents throughout the state.
“What was discovered inside his home — it’s extremely unsettling,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Richard Glennon said.
The investigation began when a 14-year-old girl reported that Sanhi had approached her 15 times, including more than a dozen as she walked home from school, Glennon said. In those instances, Sanhi allegedly tried to give her money, gifts, show tickets and other items.
Although Sanhi was confronted by a family member about his actions, he continued to follow the girl, deputies said.
As detectives investigated Sanhi, Glennon said, they discovered similar reports had been filed with law enforcement agencies in Los Altos, Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Saratoga and San Jose.
Sheriff’s officials feared that Sanhi’s actions could have escalated, Glennon said, so they obtained a warrant to search his home on Wednesday.
Inside his home, deputies found photo collages depicting young girls and a personalized license plate that he had created for one of the victims, the sergeant said.
Sheriff Laurie Smith told KGO-TV that Sanhi had placed some of the photographs “almost in kind of a shrine” on a wall.
Authorities are still trying to identify the girls in the photographs, Glennon said. It is unclear how he obtained the photographs.
When Sanhi approached young girls, he would give them a calling card or business card promoting his book, “The Makeover Dude” and his website, J C Makeover, the sergeant said.
The simple website includes excerpts purportedly written by young girls or women and religious references, with chapters about Sanhi, details about what he likes and his advice on relationships.
Glennon said Sanhi tried to promote himself as a self-help guru.
According to sheriff’s officials, Sanhi has ties to several churches in the Bay Area and had tried to volunteer as a pastor and mentor, but he was turned away because of his behavior toward young girls.
Sanhi also applied to be teacher, nanny and “in home child care provider for private individuals,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said it appears Sanhi was never hired as a teacher.
Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate possible ties to other communities throughout the state.
“Our main concern is for the protection of those young females,” Glennon said. “We had to act quickly.”