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Former teen 'ninja' pleads guilty to new charges

The former ringleader of a roving band of Rogue River "ninja" teens has pleaded guilty to new charges of first-degree theft and burglary.

Anthony Jack Pergin, 20, was one of a trio of youths whose midnight crimes plagued Rogue River police in 2007. He was arrested on Dec. 18 on multiple charges related to the alleged theft of $100,000 from a family member.

Pergin pleaded guilty Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court to a single count each of first-degree aggravated theft and burglary.

Judge Timothy Gerking handed Pergin consecutive 30-day sentences for each guilty plea, with credit for time served since his arrest. Pergin also received five years post-prison supervision. He will serve an additional 19 months in prison if he violates the terms of his probation, said Pergin's court-appointed attorney, Andrew Vandergaw.

A count of first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree burglary were dismissed as a part of the plea agreement, he said.

Pergin's arrest stemmed from an investigation conducted by the Rogue River Police Department after a relative of Pergin's complained that $100,000 in cash had been stolen from him over a period of several months beginning last summer, Vandergaw said.

Pergin initially denied stealing the money, then later admitted his guilt to police after they recovered physical evidence linking him to the crime.

Police were able to locate several witnesses who stated that the unemployed Pergin had been spending large amounts of money — included two round-trip tickets purchased with cash for himself and a girlfriend to see relatives in Virginia, said Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis.

Pergin first told police that he had earned large amounts of money while "running (transporting) marijuana," but later admitted to taking $30,000 in cash from the relative, Lewis said.

Pergin has denied knowing anything about the additional $70,000, he added.

Pergin was one of three teen members of a self-proclaimed "ninja" group arrested in 2007 on felony charges after their months-long spree of nighttime pranks morphed into serious criminal activity — including six car break-ins, three home burglaries and several thefts. In each of the burglaries, the residents were either away on vacation or temporarily out of the residence.

Pergin and the other two boys, all of Rogue River, faced multiple charges of felony burglary, theft and vandalism. The trio pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary charges, paid restitution and performed community service.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.