A Lancaster man was convicted this week of burglary and several other charges, including reckless endangerment, for jumping from a moving vehicle on Fruitville Pike.
A Lancaster County jury convicted 49-year-old James Fleetro Thomas of five charges in all, including four felonies, regarding incidents in January of 2017.
Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro presided over the trial and will order sentence on May 18, following a background check.
Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson presented evidence at the two-day trial of a burglary in East Lampeter Township and items from that burglary, found in Thomas’ possession. Anderson also presented evidence about items stolen from a burglary in Manheim Township, which Thomas also had. (Thomas was found not guilty of that burglary.)
In both burglaries, the burglar entered the homes through unlocked back doors while the residents were asleep. In both burglaries, electronics, car keys, and money were stolen.
The jury deliberated just under an hour before returning its verdict Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.
On Jan. 18, 2017, police pursued Thomas in a vehicle stolen from the Manheim Township burglary. Thomas, driving the vehicle, jumped from it without putting it in park. Manheim Township police Officer John Donnelley caught up with the moving vehicle, on foot, before it struck any other vehicles on the roadway. Traffic was light at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, Manheim Township police Detective Steven Newman apprehended Thomas after a brief 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 loot from the East Lampeter Township burglary from the vehicle to his home, including a 55” television.
Searches at the home and vehicle uncovered loot from both burglaries. Thomas was in possession of all of the loot 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 loot 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.
Assistant District Attorney Samantha Laverty assisted in the prosecution.
East Lampeter Township police Detective Christopher Jones and Manheim Township police Detective Nicholas Fritz filed charges.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright