Trial set in Chichester burglaries |

Trial set in Chichester burglaries

by Sarah Hauck

A California man denied he burglarized Chichester homes, and asked for a new attorney on Monday.

A three-day trial was set for Sept. 8 for Christopher Bernal, 22, who pleaded innocent in Douglas County District Court. His request to replace defense attorney Kris Brown was denied.

Bernal was arrested June 9 after leading sheriff’s deputies on a 10-minute foot chase through backyards.

Burglaries on May 26 and June 2 sparked increased surveillance in the Gardnerville neighborhood.

Similarities in the burglaries, which both happened in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesdays, helped investigators develop a pattern.

A rock was used to break a rear window of the homes, which were always ransacked, deputies testified.

According to testimony at his July 10 preliminary hearing, Bernal was seen by investigators emerging from between 1325 and 1327 Brook Way, crossing the front yard and looking both directions several times before getting into a silver Pontiac sedan matching a description of a vehicle from the previous burglaries.

The vehicle was being driven by Alexandra Samorano, 25, of Carson City.

When trying to conduct a traffic stop, Samorano pulled away from deputies and around the corner onto Winwood Way.

The vehicle slowed before stopping at the curb near West Wales Court where the passenger, Bernal, bolted, deputies testified on Friday.

A deputy chased Bernal, who was allegedly carrying a weapon, through several backyards.

He was taken into custody near a home off of Marrion Russell.

A sweep of the route Bernal took revealed several piles of jewelry, credit cards and other items in a Pen Way backyard. A weapon was never found.

More than a dozen rings and necklaces, including two pearl necklace and earring sets, five watches, several credit cards and a helmet camera were identified by the victim, who was on vacation at the time of the burglary.

All of the dresser drawers in the master bedroom were dumped and the office, where a rock was thrown through the window, was also destroyed.

About half of the victim’s jewelry was missing, but some was recovered.