SAN JOSE -- Police have arrested three men in connection with the brazen home invasion robbery where an Almaden Valley couple was threatened with a knife and bound.

Miguel Marez, 19, James Palmerson, 18, and Ezra Santana, 18, all San Jose residents, are also suspected of committing three other robberies between Jan. 19 and Jan. 21, a spree police said culminated with the home-invasion robbery of a couple in their 70s that grabbed headlines and added more fuel to residents' ire over spiking crime rates in the city.

That holdup involved three men who knocked on the front door of a home in the 6700 block of Bret Harte Drive the evening of Jan. 21 and forced their way inside once the residents opened the door. At least one of the men threatened the couple with a knife as they bound the residents with duct tape and ransacked the home near Leland High School and stole their two cars, according to police.

Within a day, the couple's Toyota Camry would be found abandoned in Hollister after being involved in a high-speed chase with California Highway Patrol officers on Highway 152. Their Toyota Highlander was found submerged in the Uvas Reservoir west of Morgan Hill. Police said they believe that the couple was targeted at random and that their property was recovered.

The home invasion shocked Almaden Valley residents and headlined a community meeting convened over the weekend to address a rash of thefts and burglaries in their neighborhoods, crimes that police have been de-prioritized in favor of investigating violent crimes. Police gave said the move a necessary concession to a force diminished by budget cuts.

One of the victims of the home invasion sought to neutralize some of the ensuing police criticism by praising how she and her husband were treated by investigators.

"We were very impressed with how police dealt with this, how they cared for us," said the resident, who asked not to be named out of safety and privacy concerns. "The detectives were fantastic. They were extremely kind and sensitive and very considerate."

After the recovery of the vehicles, detectives identified the three suspects, but police did not immediately detail how they came to that conclusion.

Palmerson was arrested Jan. 24 by officers responding to a police call, and Marez was arrested the same day. On Jan. 25, police tracked Santana to Gilroy.

Since the arrests, police said they linked the trio to three robberies that preceded the home invasion. That includes a violent Jan. 19 robbery where they stabbed a pedestrian multiple times in the 4100 block of Monterey Highway in South San Jose. The victim survived.

Police say the suspects went out the following night and held up a food vendor at gunpoint near Story Road and Knox Avenue and beat him with a blunt object before fleeing with cash. About an hour later, they allegedly held up a business in the 2800 block of Story Road as it was closing and beat an employee with the blunt object while holding other employees at bay by brandishing a gun.

The three suspects are in Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and burglary.

Anyone with information about the robberies can contact San Jose detectives at 408-277-4166, or leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (4867) or online at tipsubmit.org.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.