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Lancaster man convicted of burglary, jumping from moving car

LANCASTER — A Lancaster County jury convicted a man accused of committing a burglary and jumping from a moving vehicle in an attempt to elude pursuing police, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office says.

James Fleetro Thomas, 49, of Lancaster, was convicted of five charges in all, including four felonies. He will be sentenced by Lancaster County Judge Donald  Totaro on May 18.

Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson presented evidence at the two day trial that showed items taken in an East Lampeter Township burglary were found in Thomas’ possession.

Anderson also presented evidence about items taken in a burglary in Manheim Township, that Thomas also had. (Thomas was found not guilty of that burglary, the district attorney’s office says.)

In both instances, the burglar entered the home through unlocked back doors while the residents were sleeping. The items taken included electronics, keys, and cash.

On Jan. 18, 2017, police chased Thomas in a vehicle stolen from the Manheim Township burglary, according to evidence presented at the trial. Thomas, who was driving the vehicle, jumped from it without putting it in park. A Manheim Township police officer caught up with the vehicle and got it under control before it struck any other cars on the roadway.

Another officer apprehended Thomas after a short foot pursuit.

Police initially developed Thomas as a person of interest in the Manheim Township burglary, which happened a night before the East Lampeter Township burglary. Police set up surveillance at Thomas’ home. They found Thomas was driving a vehicle stolen during the Manheim Township burglary.

Police also watched Thomas unload items from the East Lampeter Township burglary from the vehicle to his home, including a 55” television.

Searches at the home and vehicle uncovered items from both burglaries. Thomas was in possession of all of the items from the East Lampeter burglary, except for $60 that was taken.

Some of the loot was found in Thomas’ car, some of it in Thomas’ house, and a stolen car key was found in his pocket.

Thomas had about half of the items taken from the Manheim Township burglary, which had occurred the preceding night. Next to a pile of stolen items inside Thomas’ house, police found a flashlight and stun gun – Anderson argued those items are ideal for burglarizing an occupied home at night.

 

The jury deliberated just under an hour before returning its verdict Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.