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The original item was published from 12/7/2020 5:05:00 PM to 2/1/2021 12:00:04 AM.

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District Attorney

Posted on: December 7, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Tuolumne County resident Austin Michael Lassa sentenced

Lassa

Sonora, California – This morning the Honorable Judge Kevin Seibert sentenced Tuolumne County resident Austin Michael Lassa, 24, to 15 years 4 months in state prison after he was convicted by a jury in September of seven first-degree residential burglaries and one second- degree burglary to a detached garage.   The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter who argued to Judge Seibert to impose the maximum sentence, a recommendation that Judge Seibert followed.  Lassa was arrested in April of 2020 when a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputy found him riding a bicycle late at night in dark clothing with a bag of suspicious property, a full-face mask, gloves and a flashlight modified to emit a narrow beam of light.  A subsequent search of Lassa’s garage uncovered property including snow boards, power tools, chain saws, tool boxes, generators, bicycles, sports memorabilia, and clothing.  Many of the items had been previously reported stolen and some victims had provided serial numbers.  Once the property was recovered, a number of county residents stepped forward and identified property that had been stolen in burglaries dating back to November of 2019, all within a mile of Lassa’s house.  During the September trial evidence was shown to the jury that Lassa’s phone contained messages and pictures pertaining to stolen property being offered for sale, as well as communications with other individuals referring to wearing dark clothing and surveilling vacant houses.   An investigation is continuing into whether Lassa was involved with other individuals in committing his crimes.  According to ADA Hovatter, there is still a significant amount of suspected stolen property in the possession of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department and if any residents of the Crystal Falls area were victims of theft prior to April 2020 they are urged to contact the Sheriff’s Department with a description of missing property.

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