Woodland church thief caught

WOODLAND — Nearly two years after a brazen burglary that deprived a Woodland church of more than $15,000 in donations, Woodland police announced Thursday the arrest of a local man in connection with the crime.

Jose Luis Rangel, 62, was taken into custody shortly before noon Thursday at his home at 54 Maryland Ave. in Woodland, Sgt. Dan Letamendi said. He was lodged at the Yolo County Jail on a warrant charging him with two counts of burglary and one count of safecracking.

Rangel is suspected of breaking into Holy Rosary Church, 301 Walnut Ave., by fashioning a ladder and entering through a second-story window on Nov. 26, 2007.

Rangel then used a cutting torch to cut open a safe and steal between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of cash and checks.

Less than two months later, police announced that they had identified a “person of interest” in the burglary case. They searched Rangel’s home and collected evidence allegedly linking him to the crime.

Despite that, police did not have enough evidence to pursue charges against Rangel, Letamendi said.

“During the course of their investigation, detectives learned of a residential burglary where Rangel had been identified as the person who had stolen numerous tools from his neighbor’s garage,” Letamendi said in a news release.

In April, police discovered that Rangel had been arrested in Roseville after he was spotted using an acetylene torch to cut into an automated teller machine on Church Street.

Letamendi said Rangel has since pleaded no contest to a grand theft charge in connection with that crime and was sentenced to four months in jail and three years of probation.

Jose Rangel

Jose Rangel

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