Burglar sentenced to prison
The Chichester Burglar, who committed a string of break-ins in the Gardnerville neighborhood, was sent to prison on Monday.
Christopher Bernal, 22, of California, was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 2-6 years.
Bernal was arrested June 9 after leading sheriff’s deputies on a 10-minute foot chase through backyards.
According to his lawyer, Kris Brown, Bernal assisted deputies in recovering some of the items he had taken from homes, after he admitted to the crimes.
Bernal had moved to the area from Stockton to get away from his criminal lifestyle.
However, shortly after relocating, Bernal got mixed up with the wrong crowd, his attorney told the court on Monday before sentencing.
Bernal began using drugs and eventually fell into debt with his dealer, sparking desperation for money to pay off his debt.
“I’m not going to try and blame this all on drugs,” Bernal said. “I can’t take it back, but I want to try and make it right.”
Judge Dave Gamble explained to Bernal that he hopes programs within prison can help him change his life.
“Wherever you go, there you are. You may not have been in Stockton, but you ran into the same kind of drug, the same kind of people,” he said. “You’re never going to live burglarizing houses. You’ve got to change. You’re 22. You’ve got four times that amount of life to live, if you don’t die of drugs or being shot at a crime scene.”
On top of his prison sentence Bernal was ordered to pay $8,500 of restitution to the victims.
His 24-72 months sentence will run consecutive to two parole violations he has out of California.
He was given credit for 132 days of time served.
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 at a preliminary hearing.
A deputy chased Bernal, who was allegedly carrying a weapon, through several backyards.
He was taken into custody near a home off of Marion Russell. A weapon was never found.
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.
A sweep of the route Bernal took revealed several piles of jewelry, credit cards and other items in a Pen Way backyard.
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.