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UPDATE | Suspect in string of Bainbridge burglaries has long criminal history
Fingerprints, DNA from a blood sample, witness reports and recovered stolen jewelry led Bainbridge Island police to a suspect in the recent string of burglaries on the island.
Bainbridge police said Wednesday that an arrest warrant has been issued for Jason Michael Lucas, 34.
At a press conference Wednesday, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner said police believe Lucas was the intruder who burglarized more than two dozen homes on Bainbridge Island this spring. Many of the homes that were burglarized were located near public gathering spots on, such as parks and schools.
Police do not believe Lucas is still in Kitsap County.
Bainbridge Police Detective Scott Weiss said that police believe Lucas left Kitsap County in June, shortly after a police sketch that showed him as a suspect in the crimes was released to the public.
Weiss said that just one more burglary occurred after the sketch was published.
The U.S. Marshals Service in Seattle has been asked to take on the search for the alleged burglar, and a nationwide extradition warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“They’re going to be searching for this individual, and take him into custody no matter where he’s at in the United States,” Weiss said.
“He’ll be detained at the border if he tries to cross any borders.”
Weiss said police think Lucas is responsible for 25 burglaries, with 24 of the break-ins on Bainbridge.
Weiss said 10 of the burglaries with the strongest amount of evidence were forwarded to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office, and the warrant for Lucas’ arrest carries a bail amount of $250,000.
The warrant itemizes four counts of residential burglary and first degree trafficking in stolen property.
Lucas, of Port Hadlock, is a convicted felon and has a history of burglary, according to earlier press reports.
He has five convictions for residential burglary, two for theft in the second degree, one for theft first degree, one for trafficking in stolen property and one for possession of a stolen firearm.
He was arrested in 2009 for a string of burglaries at homes in Kingston and Hansville where more than 60 firearms were taken.
Lucas had worked at the homes as a landscaper. Police found many of the stolen guns, including some of Civil War vintage, after they received a warrant to search his brother’s home in Port Hadlock after Lucas tried to sell stolen guns to undercover officers.
Lucas was arrested for those burglaries with his younger brother. He pled guilty to three counts of residential burglary, first-degree theft, possessing a stolen firearm and first-degree trafficking in stolen property, and was sentenced to 50 months in the county jail. Firearms retrieved during the investigation were also traced back to a residential burglary on Bainbridge Island.
In the recent string of burglaries, Bainbridge police said an officer found a fingerprint on the bottom of a chair in one of the burglarized homes that matched Lucas’ prints.
Jewelry reported stolen in the Bainbridge burglaries was also found in pawn shops in three Washington counties, and also outside of the state.
“In this state anyways, when someone sells something at a pawn shop they have to provide [a driver’s license],” Weiss said.
“And then most of them have to sign a form when they pawn something, so their signature would be there, too.”
Weiss said that the value of the items stolen — combined with damage to many of the homes — totals several thousands of dollars.
Chief Hamner praised the department’s officers for breaking open the case.
“These detectives also have patrol duties,” Hamner noted. “I think it’s absolutely remarkable the work they’ve been able to do with the manpower shortage.”