Armed robber gets 13 years for two heists and a stabbing

Elias Ortiz III pleaded guilty to robbery and assault charges in both incidents last May

GRANTS PASS — A 25-year-old local man involved in two drug-related armed robberies last spring has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Elias Ortiz III pleaded guilty in a May 17 home invasion and gunpoint robbery in the 200 block of Southwest Rogue River Avenue. He also pleaded guilty to a May 23 knifepoint robbery involving a man stabbed in the throat after meeting Ortiz for what police said was a drug deal outside a neighborhood market in northwest Grants Pass.

Josephine Circuit Judge Thomas Hull sentenced Ortiz Thursday on charges of second-degree robbery and being a felon in possession of a gun in the home invasion robbery, and on charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault in the stabbing incident.

Had Ortiz been convicted on the more-serious charge of first-degree robbery in both cases, he could have faced an additional sentence of nearly two more years in prison.

Two people remain charged in the home-invasion incident. One of them, Zara H. Thomas, 33, of 1555 Southside Road, has pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree robbery, and is due to be sentenced Thursday. The third defendant, Crystal A. Anders, 45, of 153 Genevieve Place, is due to stand trial Oct. 9, on a charge of first-degree robbery.

In the home invasion robbery, a laptop computer, cell- phones and methamphetamine were taken. Grants Pass police arrested Thomas at the home she then shared with Ortiz on Mount Baldy Road, while Ortiz was arrested during a subsequent vehicle stop near K and Pine Streets. Anders was arrested in July after she left the state, but then returned.

In the knifepoint robbery, Ortiz robbed a couple who he said showed up outside the market to sell him prescription opiates, police say, but he instead held a knife to the man's throat and stabbed him. The woman fled to a neighboring home, and Ortiz gave chase before fleeing himself. The 22-year-old stabbing victim was treated and released from Three Rivers Medical Center.

Reach Daily courier reporter Shaun Hall at 541-474-3813 or

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