Jason C. Stripling, 37, was arrested in Pennsylvania and brought back to Augusta on June 12 in connection with the Jan. 8 break-in of a Kitts Drive home, said Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms.
The homeowner returned to find a back window pried open, the house ransacked and a screwdriver next to a safe, which had been pried open. DNA found on the screwdriver linked Stripling to the break-in, Syms said.
Richmond County sheriff’s investigators are still working on Stripling’s possible involvement in 180 burglaries in the West Wheeler Parkway and Bertram Road areas, Syms said. Other suspects found with property taken in some of those break-ins told investigators the items were purchased from Stripling, Syms said.
Defense attorney Kirk Gilliard countered that the other suspects blamed Stripling in an attempt to escape prosecution. Stripling has lived in Augusta for 20 years is married and has children and a steady job, Gilliard said in asking for bond.
The prosecutor requested that Stripling be held without bond. Even if he is only prosecuted for the one break-in, his history alone justified the pretrial confinement, Syms said.
Stripling’s previous convictions include burglary and theft in 1997, six counts of burglary in 2002, two burglaries and a theft in 1994 in Pennsylvania, and burglary and theft in 1995 in Pennsylvania.
According to court and Department of Corrections records, Stripling pleaded guilty to burglary charges in October 2003, when he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in April 2008.