Bainbridge Island police searching for suspected serial burglar
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- Bainbridge Island Police are searching for a man accused of committing more than two dozen residential burglaries and sparking fear among the community.
Police said Jason Michael Lucas, 33, used a similar pattern each time he committed a burglary during daylight hours -- he often entered homes with unlocked doors, or kicked-in the doors, then took jewelry, laptops, pills and firearms.
"Just pure terror," said burglary victim Christiana Bannister, who came face-to-face with the suspect at her home in April.
Bannister was sick and woke up to the sound of items being thrown around her house. She got up to see what was going on and saw the suspect in her parent's bedroom.
"It looked like a tornado had gone through (the master bedroom) so I ran to the bathroom and locked the door," said Bannister, who then called 911.
Bannister said Lucas, who was still not aware she was inside the home, knocked down the bathroom door and that's when she came came face-to-face with the suspect.
"He just looked at me and just paused for a second and then he just ran out the front door," said Bannister.
"The fact that he kicked in that bathroom door and found somebody in there and (the community) knew that he'd been stealing firearms heightens everybody's awareness and makes people uneasy," said Chief Matthew Hamner.
Detectives eventually connected Lucas to at least 25 burglaries through witness sightings, vehicle descriptions and DNA. In Bannister's case, it was through fingerprints.
"A chair had been moved, and I can't predict how many officers would have looked at that chair, but we had an officer who flipped that chair upside down and found a surface that was conducive to prints and found a print and matched it to him," said Hamner.
Lucas is considered a serial burglar. His criminal history includes convictions for residential burglary, trafficking stolen property, and possession of firearms.
Bainbridge Island Police are now working with U.S. Marshals Service to find him.
"I think this has been kind of a wake up call for all of us," said Bannister. "Now, we lock our doors all the time."
Detectives believe Lucas may have left Washington state. He was last known to be driving a grey 1987 Ford pickup truck with Washington license plate B60138F. He may be carrying a firearm. If you recognize him, call 911 and do not approach the suspect.