Merced man jailed in string of Placer County thefts

rparsons@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 9, 2014 

A Merced man is behind bars in Placer County in connection with a string of burglaries in Kings Beach.

Jason W. Woodral, 35, was arrested Wednesday morning after a Placer County deputy sheriff interrupted a burglary at a laundromat, the Placer County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Woodral admitted to breaking into numerous businesses in the same area since the end of October or the beginning of November, Sgt. Dave Hunt said.

“He claimed he was looking for quick cash for gambling at the casinos,” Hunt said.

Woodral had been wanted in Merced County since 2009 on a probation violation warrant, according to Merced Superior Court records.

Deputies said Woodral ran from investigators Wednesday night, but was tracked down and arrested a short time later in a residential neighborhood in Kings Beach. The Placer County Probation Department assisted with the arrest, deputies said.

“He was running between fences through the neighborhood, but he was cornered near a residence and taken into custody,” Hunt said. “We believe he did all of these (burglaries) on his own.”

Investigators said Woodral is a suspect in at least four other burglaries in the area, including two break-ins at the Kings Beach Car Wash, two at the Tahoe Cutting Company, two more at the Tahoe Pilates Studio and three at the Kings Beach Laundromat, which he is accused of breaking into Wednesday.

“He got into the laundromat through the attic and may have been waiting to get into other businesses in the same (strip mall),” Hunt said. “He claimed he was looking for a place to sleep.”

Hunt said Woodral targeted coin boxes and cash, adding that each burglary netted less than $100 to several hundred.

Woodral was booked at the Placer County jail on suspicion of eight counts of second-degree burglary, all felonies. Bail was set at $250,000, according to Placer County jail records.

He remained in custody Thursday afternoon.

On Feb. 5, 2009, Woodral pleaded no contest in Merced Superior Court to a single felony count of burglary. He was sentenced to serve 180 days in the Merced County jail and three years of formal probation. He was charged with a probation violation Sept. 28, 2009, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to Merced Superior Court records.

Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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