Ashland burglars drawn to technology

ASHLAND — Police have broken up a burglary ring whose leader had a fetish for big televisions and a desire to furnish his apartment with everything from a stolen refrigerator all the way down to pilfered soap, authorities said.

Three adults and two juveniles, have been arrested on various burglary and theft charges stemming from 16 residential burglaries — 15 of which were in Ashland and one in Medford — that have been linked to the group so far, Ashland police said.

They operated during the night and in broad daylight, often choosing residences based on how big a boob-tube they could see from outside, investigators said.

"They selected their victims by looking in windows and seeing big TVs," Ashland police Detective Bon Stewart said. "They didn't always take the TV. I can't explain why."

Also taken during the crime spree were laptop computers, a veritable what's-what of computer-gaming systems and iPods, as well as hundreds of compact discs and DVDs, stereos, and jewelry, Stewart said.

Police even recovered stolen living-room furniture, clothing, bottles of wine and laundry detergent taken during various burglaries, Stewart said.

"They were basically looking to outfit their apartment," Stewart said. "That's stuff normal burglars don't steal."

The last of the five suspects was cited and released Monday, Stewart said.

The group's alleged leader, 20-year-old Andres Fidel Hernandez, already has been indicted by a Jackson County Grand Jury on 12 counts of first-degree burglary, 13 counts of first-degree theft and one count of unauthorized entry into a vehicle, records show.

Hernandez was being held Tuesday in the Jackson County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail, jail records show.

Hernandez was taken into custody during a May 9 search of his residence on the 600 block of East Main Street in Ashland, which he shared with a 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, police said.

During the search, stolen property valued at about $20,000 was discovered at the apartment, police said. A subsequent search of a storage unit at Hernandez' consent yielded more stolen goods valued at about $10,000, Stewart said.

Both juveniles were referred to the Jackson County Juvenile Department on four counts of first-degree burglary and four counts of first-degree theft, theft by receiving and conspiracy to commit theft, police said.

Gary Tyler Perkins, 20, of Medford, was cited and released Monday on one count each of first-degree burglary and theft by receiving, police said. Investigators earlier cited and released Chasen E. Soltis, 19, of San Jose, Calif., on one count of first-degree burglary, police said.

Both cases will be brought before a grand jury for charges, Stewart said. No appearance date has been set for Soltis or Perkins, Stewart said.

In two of the burglaries, the victims were home and asleep at the time of the break-ins, Stewart said. The other burglaries occurred at homes that were unoccupied at the time, he said.

Many of the televisions, X-Boxes and PlayStations found at Hernandez's apartment sat unused and were not even plugged in, Stewart said.

"He just had a thing for big TVs," Stewart said. "That's all we can say."

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail

Share This Story