Burglary Victim Speaks Out

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, July 16 2012 at 6:10 PM, Updated: Tue, July 17 2012 at 10:03 AM

Vietnam Veteran Gary Lilla moved into his new home just about a month ago, but he said he never expected to have his life put in jeopardy and his home burglarized on July 2nd.

Police said Lilla is one of 18 victims hit by alleged members of a burglary ring that targeted the northwest neighborhoods in Grants Pass.

"They tried to jimmy this window," said Lilla as he showed NBC 5 a window on his home.

He said there's been at least $5000 in damage.

Lilla said he and his neighbor found 21-year-old Michael Quigley in the backyard with Lilla's stolen property, which included antique guns, jewelry other items. He said the Quigley was also holing Lilla's handgun.

"He kept flashing the gun back and forth...He told us both he'd kill us both," recalled Lilla.

Shortly after that, police arrested Quigley and put him behind bars at the Josephine County Jail.

But it wasn't his first run in with the law. Police said he had been cited and released multiple times before.

"We probably would have had to cite and release him had he not used a firearm," said Detective Archie Lidey with Grants Pass Public Safety.

He said Grants Pass Police have been investigating the burglary ring since mid-June and last week authorities arrested five others at a Motel 6 in Grants Pass who they believe are also involved in the burglary ring.

"The ring is at least 15 people, at least," said Detective Lidey.

The problem? There's no room in the county jail to house them all. However, despite that, Detective Lidey said they'll keep persuing criminals.

"We're still going to come after you," he said.

Michael Quigley is in the Josephine County Jail. Robby Frenna and Nathaniel Anderson, both alleged members of the burglary ring, are in the Jackson County Jail. With so many others on the loose, Lilla said he's staying vigilant, protecting himself with his steel doors, locks and guns.

Before NBC 5 left Lilla's home, he discovered two sharp poles hidden on top of his fence, which prompted him to call police again. Lilla said
he suspects those sharp poles he found could be used to help someone jump the fence or as weapons.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

Connect with Christine

Leave a Comment:

Note: Comments with profanity are automatically filtered and hidden. Verbal attacks towards others via our comments section will not be tolerated.