In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 10th, a Saugus resident was awakened by pounding at the front door of his family’s home. When the man, who asked only to be identified as Matt, went to the door and looked out, he saw someone with their back to the door, pointing a gun at the houses across the street.
Quickly, Matt ran upstairs and called the police as he and his family barricaded themselves in one of the upstairs bedrooms. The soon-to-be intruder kept banging and kicking at their front door, until eventually breaking in after about 20 minutes. For two minutes, the intruder zipped around the home, including the family’s garage, until deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station arrived. Once ordered to exit the home and give up, the intruder cooperated with police.
The intruder, Jeremiah Charles Ditch, of Saugus, was initially arrested on suspicion of burglary. After police investigated his home, additional charges were added, including possession of an assault weapon and possession of stolen property. Ditch is currently being held in lieu of $70,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on December 21.
Burglary is covered under California Penal Code 459 PC and is described as entering a structure with the intent of committing a felony once inside. It’s divided into two categories: first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary. First-degree burglary deals with entering a residence, and is a felony. Second-degree burglary deals with entering any other type of structure, including stores, businesses and warehouses, and is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case.
Penalties for first-degree burglary include formal probation, 2 to 6 years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties for second-degree burglary, if charged as a misdemeanor, include summary probation, up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a felony, the potential penalties are 16 months to 3 years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.