Home intruder pleads no contest to possessing an assault rifle

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A local man arrested for burglary after he allegedly forced his way into a Saugus home, armed with a firearm, prompting a family to cower inside a room, pleaded no contest to one count of possessing an assault weapon.

Jeremiah Charles Ditch, 35, of Santa Clarita was arrested in December 2016 on suspicion of burglary in connection with an intruder incident on the 28400 block of Santa Rosa Lane.

“Ditch pleaded no contest on Aug. 9 to one count of possession of an assault weapon, AR-15,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Wednesday.

Ditch is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 30, he said.

Shortly after his arrest in 2016, Ditch, who served in Iraq with the U.S. Army, was ordered to undergo testing to determine his mental competency.

On Jan. 12, the results of that testing revealed he was mentally competent to stand trial, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office revealed.

“He was held to answer on all of the (initial) charges,” Santiago told The Signal in January.

Ditch was subsequently arraigned on charges that included burglary, possession of an assault weapon and possession of stolen property.

Prosecutors, however, chose not to pursue the other charges filed against Ditch – leaving just the possessing an assault weapon charge standing.

According to the Saugus man who phoned deputies last year at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to report an intruder, a man armed with a firearm, banging on his front door, had forced his way into the residence after 20 minutes of trying to gain access.

No shots were fired during the incident.

While the man was banging on the door, the Saugus resident cowered in an upstairs bedroom of the home with his wife and 15-year-old daughter, fearing for his safety and the safety of his family.

Deputies arrived at the home, he said, within a couple of minutes of the intruder having kicked down the door and entering the home.


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