Couple accused of using PetSmart job to rob homes to stand trial 

A woman accused of using her job at a San Carlos PetSmart store to help commit multiple residential burglaries in San Mateo County and her alleged accomplice boyfriend have been ordered to stand trial for the crimes.

The couple, Ashley Kirk and Juan Ortega-Ramos, both 24-year-old San Jose residents with alleged gang affiliations, were arrested in Discovery Bay in January after a five-month investigation into burglaries at vacant homes.

They were previously arrested in September for another burglary, but charges were dropped in that case.

Kirk allegedly used her job boarding dogs at PetSmart and knowledge of customers who were out of town 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.

The couple had pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen burglary and car theft charges, along with gang allegations.

Ortega-Ramos is believed to be a NorteƱo gang member and Kirk his associate, according to prosecutors.

After a two-day preliminary hearing ended Wednesday in San Mateo County Superior Court, the couple were ordered to stand trial on all charges.

A date will be set for the trial at a court proceeding on April 3, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

If convicted of all charges, the boyfriend and girlfriend, who live together, face more than 60 years in prison, he said. The two remain in custody on $500,000 bail.

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