Couple ordered to stand trial for burglaries of PetSmart customers’ empty homes 

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 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 had already been arrested in September for a San Mateo County burglary, but charges were dropped in that case.

Allegedly 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.

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 Norteno 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 was 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 live-in boyfriend and girlfriend face more than 60 years in prison, he said.

The two remain in custody on $500,000 bail.

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