Gang charges dropped against alleged PetSmart burglar

Ashley Kirk

A woman accused of using her job at a San Carlos PetSmart store to help commit multiple residential burglaries in San Mateo County will stand trial in August on more than a dozen felonies but not the gang counts with which she was originally charged.

Judge Jonathan Karesh dismissed the gang affiliation allegations after a Friday hearing but upheld the remaining burglary and car theft charges against Ashley Lynn Kirk. Kirk and her alleged accomplice Juan Ortega-Ramos, both 24-year-old San Jose residents, are scheduled for jury trial Aug. 18.

According to prosecutors, Kirk used her knowledge of customers who were out of town through her job boarding dogs at PetSmart to ransack the empty homes and take items including electronics, jewelry and, in one instance, a silver Porsche 991S from a Portola Valley home, according to prosecutors.

In January, authorities capped a five-month investigation into burglaries at vacant homes by arresting the couple in Discovery Bay.

Ortega-Ramos, alleged to be a Norteño, still faces gang charges.

Each remain in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.

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