Saugus family endures terrifying armed intruder ordeal

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A local man faces several criminal charges including possession of an assault weapon after he allegedly forced his way into a Saugus home, armed with a handgun, forcing the family to cower inside a room.

The victim, who wanted only his first name used, told The Signal Wednesday that he and his family endured 22 minutes of terror as they barricaded themselves inside an upstairs bedroom listening to the gunman — a stranger — try to kick down their front door.

“At five o’clock in the morning I heard this banging at the door and the doorbell ringing. I looked through the peep hole and saw this guy with his back to me, holding a gun and aiming at the homes across the street,” said Matt.

No shots were fired.

“I’m freaking out. So I run upstairs and call 911. After I make the call, I go back downstairs and get two knives, then I run back upstairs and we all barricade ourselves in the bedroom,” he said.

Matt, his wife, their 15-year-old daughter and their two dogs huddled inside the room as the intruder continued to kick the front door.

Terrified, the family pushed a bed against the bedroom door.

“I removed the screen of our bedroom window so that we could jump from the second floor,” Matt said.

Twenty minutes after the ordeal began, the gunman finally broke into house.

“I yelled down that I had a gun even though I didn’t,” Matt said.“He kicked the door to the point that the (door) frame failed,” he said.

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrived within two minutes of the gunman entering the house and arrested the intruder.

But, for those two minutes, the gunman bullets “all over the house,” Matt said. He also went into the family’s garage.

No shots were fired during the ordeal and the suspect complied with orders when deputies arrived, Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Jeremiah Charles Ditch, 35, of Santa Clarita was arrested on suspicion of burglary Saturday in connection with the incident on the 28400 block of Santa Rosa Lane, arrest records show.

Arresting deputies listed the suspect’s occupation as a film grip. A grip works closely with a film’s camera department providing camera support.

“The suspect was arrested for burglary. The victim and his family were not injured. The handgun was located,” Cambra said.

As deputies continued their investigation, they later found several handguns at the suspect’s home, she said, noting all the firearms were seized pending the investigation.

The suspect was additionally charged with possession of an assault weapon and possession of stolen property, Cambra said.

Ditch was placed in custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles with bail set at $70,000.

He is scheduled to appear in San Fernando Superior Court Dec. 21.

“My nerves are shot,” Matt said. “It was definitely a terrifying thing. We’ve not been able to sleep very well.”

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