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DA says PetSmart vacation calendar used for burglaries
January 16, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Ashley Kirk

Juan Ortega-Ramos

A San Carlos PetSmart worker and her husband are in the legal doghouse after allegedly using dog owners’ boarding services as a way to gauge when they would be away vacationing and their vacant homes prime targets for burglary.

Prosecutors say Ashley Kirk and Juan Ortega-Ramos, both 24 and of San Jose, used the scheme several times to steal electronics, jewelry and cars including a Porsche from a Portola Valley home. Kirk, who worked in the store’s PetsHotel boarding service department, would figure out when the dog owners were on vacation and pass on the information to Ortega-Ramos who would commit the robberies, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Rebecca Rosenblatt.

Authorities arrested the pair, then dating, in September 2013 after the silver Porsche 991S found in the 1100 block of Shoreway Road in Belmont traced back to a vehicle stolen earlier that day. That home on Hillbrook Drive in Portola Valley had also been burglarized.

The couple bailed out but was arrested again Monday on $500,000 warrants on suspicion of several other burglaries after sheriff’s investigators spent five months looking at just how far the crime spree extended, Rosenblatt said.

Ultimately, the couple were linked to burglaries in Foster City, Portola Valley, Woodside and Redwood City.

Both Kirk and Ortega-Ramos each pleaded not guilty Tuesday to eight counts of residential burglary, one count of possessing stolen property, two counts of car theft and being Norteño gangmembers. The couple also asked for court-appointed attorneys and did not waive their right to a speedy prosecution. They return to court Jan. 28 for a preliminary hearing and remain in custody on $500,000 bail.

If convicted, they face about 15 years prison, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: ortega, would, ramos, portola, couple, after,

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