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FRIDAY, August 15, 2014 | Vol. 114, No. 33 | WWW.BAINBRIDGEREVIEW.COM | 75¢

Police identify suspect in string of residential burglaries Fingerprints, blood led police to suspect BY CECILIA GARZA AND BRIAN KELLY Bainbridge Island Review

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

Jason Michael Lucas 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

Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner, right, talks to reporters about a suspect in the string of residential burglaries this spring on Bainbridge Island while Detective Scott Weiss listens. 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 bur-

glaries 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


Jamie Beletz keeps order at 37th state cook-off BY LUCIANO MARANO Bainbridge Island Review

There is no beer or good chili in Afghanistan. At least, there wasn’t for Jamie Beletz. Almost two years ago, while working as a government contractor in the Middle East, Beletz said he made up his mind to get his hands on both of the things he missed so much as soon as he could. Today, he is a frequent customer at the Bainbridge Island Brewing Company and a returning official at the state’s 37th annual chili cook-off event Saturday. Sometimes dreams do come true. “I was in Afghanistan for a little over a year,” Beletz explained. “I oversaw three of the five largest contracts for the federal government. That’s actually where I first saw the chili cook-off. There were two things I really wanted while I was over there: chili and beer.” Beletz has been an island resident for just over a year. His wife actually bought their home here while he was still overseas. He still remembers talking to her via Skype. She would often call him from the

Jamie Beletz Bainbridge Island Brewing Company, an act which he described as “beyond cruel.” Upon his return to America and his arrival on Bainbridge, Beletz said he began immediately to make up for lost time with his wife, friends — and other loves. “The first thing I did was go to the brewery,” he laughed. Then he called Cynthia Stearns. To Stearns, producer of the annual Washington State Chili cook-off, Beletz

offered his services and was quickly named the event’s official Chili Wrangler. What exactly does that entail? Apparently, it’s all of the perks with none of the pressure, exactly what he was looking for, Beletz said. “I coordinate between the head judge and scorekeeper,” he explained. “I maintain the judging area, setting up for each category.” And, obviously, he tastes a lot of great chili. Unofficially, of course. “Actually, judge is probably better because you get to eat it all,” he said. “But I get to eat when it’s all over.” The 37th Washington State Chili Cookoff will take place Saturday, Aug. 16 at Emerald Downs and features competition in three chili categories: red, verde and salsa. The chili cook-off will be held in conjunction with live horse racing. Stearns said more than 50 venues vied to host the competition. “We are pleased to have Emerald Downs as our host site this year,” she said. “It’s a unique locale for our state and easily accessible. Plus, TURN TO CHILI | A21

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. TURN TO SUSPECT | A21

Break discharges 67,000 gallons of sewage into harbor BY CECILIA GARZA AND BRIAN KELLY Bainbridge Island Review

Nearly 67,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Eagle Harbor Sunday after a contractor who was digging to replace the aging sewer line hit and ruptured the pipe. The Kitsap Public Health District has advised that Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park and Pritchard Park will remain closed to swimming until Saturday, Aug. 16. Unless tests done this week indicate a need to extend the closure, people and their pets should avoid direct skin contact with Eagle Harbor waters through Saturday, district officials said. A contractor with Frank Coluccio Construction was working to replace the 40-year-old cast-iron sewer line, when TURN TO SEWAGE | A21

Bainbridge Island Review, August 15, 2014  

August 15, 2014 edition of the Bainbridge Island Review

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