Ex-Rogue River 'ninja' faces theft charges

One of the ringleaders of a roving band of "ninja" teens whose midnight crimes plagued Rogue River police in 2007 was arrested Saturday on charges related to the alleged theft of $100,000 from a family member.

Anthony Jack Pergin, 20, of the 200 block of Lloyellen Drive in Rogue River, was arrested on charges of first-degree aggravated theft, first-degree theft and first-degree burglary, said Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis.

The arrest stemmed from an investigation conducted by the police department after a relative of Pergin's complained that $100,000 in cash had been stolen from him over a period of several months beginning last summer, Lewis said.

The name of the victim is being withheld because of the ongoing investigation, Lewis said.

Investigating officer Robert Buren recovered physical evidence linking Pergin to the crime. He also located several witnesses who stated that Pergin had been spending large amounts of money the last few weeks, even though he is unemployed.

Pergin's spree included two round-trip tickets purchased with cash for himself and a girlfriend to see relatives in Virginia, Lewis said.

Pergin first told police that he had earned large amounts of money while "running (transporting) marijuana," but later admitted to taking $30,000 in cash from the relative, Lewis said. Pergin has denied knowing anything about the additional $70,000, he added.

Pergin was transported to the Jackson County Jail, where he was booked on the charges and remained Monday on $100,000 bail.

Pergin was the one of three teen members of a self-proclaimed "ninja" group arrested in 2007 on felony charges after their months-long spree of nighttime pranks morphed into serious criminal activity.

The boys graduated to burglary after skulking across rooftops and ghosting through people's yards at night while Rogue River police responded to a rash of calls, including six car break-ins, three home burglaries and several thefts. In each of the burglaries, the residents were either away on vacation or temporarily out of the residence.

Pergin and the other two boys, all of Rogue River, faced multiple charges of felony burglary, theft and vandalism.

The trio pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary charges, paid restitution and performed community service.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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