By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Less than a week after an arrest was made for a burglary of former Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg’s house, an arrest was made in a break-in at Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer’s home that took place earlier this year.
Both occurred in Centralia and both were solved through confessions allegedly obtained by an inmate at the Thurston County Jail. The 38-year-old man has not been charged.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer
According to authorities, the inmate has named so far at least four individuals as his partners in crimes in more than a dozen burglaries in Lewis County since last year.
Berg’s home on Winterwood Drive was broken into in February of 2014, and Meyer’s in February of this year.
Meyer, 44, said although in his job he works with victims on a daily basis, being a victim himself is “kind of surreal.”
“It’s a weird feeling, to know your stuff’s out there somewhere,” he said.
His youngest daughter discovered it, when she got home from school and found the front door had been kicked in, he said. Their house is just outside the Centralia city limits on Mount Vista Road near Centralia High School.
She called him, he sent her somewhere safe and he called the police, he said.
Someone rummaged through the master bedroom and took jewelry and other personal items.
“They took my wife’s jewelry box, full of pieces I’d given her, including from her great grandmother, and a ring I’d given her of my grandmother’s” he said. ”
Meyer kept his small valuables in what he called a watch box. Among the items it contained before it was all stolen were his wedding rings, his Aberdeen High School class ring, his prosecutor’s badge and his Tenino Police Department reserve officer badge, he said.
He damaged his wedding ring when he was in college and got a new one, he said, that he’d happened to have left at home that day.
They also took a wicker laundry basket, he said.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office initially estimated the loss at about $3,300, but Meyer said it was much more.
One of the two suspects was arrested last week, found hiding in a garage on North Pearl Street in Centralia. Janet L. Gleason, 42, of Centralia, was charged the following day in Lewis County Superior Court with residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief.
Meyer said he was told by detectives he was targeted by Gleason in retaliation for prosecuting her son.
Eighteen-year-old Dillan G. Gleason was sent to prison for five years after pleading guilty to stealing from relatives in the summer of 2014.
His grandmother at his sentencing hearing said she believed there was close to $300,000 cash from her lottery winnings in a safe that went missing. As part of the plea agreement, the younger Gleason signed back over $57,000 from a trust, according to his lawyer.
Meyer said in his line of work, he’s gotten threats from people, but involving his home and his family took it to a whole different level.
“I understand people are upset at me for doing my job, or the job that I do,” he said. “I get that; but that crosses the line.”
Meyer was elected prosecutor in 2010, and won a second term last November. Before that, he was in private practice in Centralia and did criminal defense work.
Gleason’s arraignment was yesterday. The case is being handled by an outside prosecutor, because of the conflict.
According to court documents, Gleason admitted only to being present in a car outside the residence when it happened. She contended Robert Collins, the Thurston County Jail inmate, gave her two jewelry boxes which she in turn gave to two friends.
Collins however, when interviewed with his lawyer present in September by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Bruce Kimsey, said it was Gleason’s idea and that she asked for his help, according to her charging documents.
Collins allegedly admitted only that he forced the front door open and then Gleason ran into the house and headed upstairs, the documents state.
He said he yelled at her for getting him involved when he saw the badges, and that’s when she told him she was getting back at the prosecutor, according to the allegations.
Meyer said they recently got back the two jewelry boxes – his wife’s jewelry box and his watch box. He got back a necklace of his that had been cut apart and melted down, he said.
Late this summer, someone found his class ring in a gas station parking lot in Olympia, and tracked him down through his high school, to return it, he said.
Meyer said he didn’t know how many burglaries Collins has said he was involved in. He’s taken himself out of the loop on prosecuting the cases that relate to his burglary, he said.
He said he’s taken steps, “to do everything I can,” to make his family home safe. He reflected on how the experience has changed him, when he spoke about it earlier this week.
He has prosecuted people, he has defended people, and even sat as a judge, he said.
“To me, it makes me a more well-rounded prosecutor,” Meyer said. “Really, the part of that circle is, I hadn’t been a victim.”
Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain is handling Gleason’s case, according to Meyer’s Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher.
He just got the case or cases yesterday, Meagher said.
Her bail was set at $25,000. Her trial was put on the court calendar for Dec. 28.
Collins, who remains in the Thurston County Jail, is being held there on two cases from last year and at least one from this year, according to the jail’s online roster.
The only case he has in Lewis County Superior Court currently is one charge of possession of methamphetamine, from February of this year. His bail is set at $25,000.
Gleason has a current case in Lewis County Superior Court involving two counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and one count of possession of methamphetamine, according to court papers. She has previous felony convictions for second-degree burglary in 2006 as well as violations of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in 2005, 2001 and 1999.