Jury nails sledgehammer wielding man for burglary
Visalia man stole $10,000 in jewelry from the Visalia Mall after causing $400 of damage with sledgehammer
VISALIA – A career criminal is headed back to prison for at least six years, but it probably won’t be enough time to break his 22-year cycle of violent behavior.
On Wednesday, June 19, a Tulare County jury found Jason Hounihan, 42, guilty of burglarizing a Visalia jewelry store. At 6:20 a.m. on March 24, 2019, video surveillance captured Hounihan approach the south entrance of the Visalia Mall. Hounihan produced a small sledgehammer and proceeded to shatter the glass of one of the doors. Kicking out the remaining glass, Hounihan entered the mall and went to Kay Jewelers. At the store, Hounihan used the hammer to bend the security gate and smash a nearby display case. Hounihan was able to grab 19 items and flee the mall. The value of the items was determined to be over $10,000.
Three days later, Visalia Police Department officers received an anonymous tip on Hounihan’s location. He was arrested at Jefferson Park, at the corner of Watson Street and Myrtle Avenue in Visalia. Hounihan was identified by officers using video surveillance, as well as his shoes which could also be seen on video.
Hounihan was convicted of one count of burglary and two counts of vandalism causing over $400 in damage. Each count is a felony. Hounihan has a prior strike for assault with a firearm in 1997 and convictions for felony weapons possession in 1999, two felony drug convictions in 2008, burglary in 2014, resisting an officer in 2014, and bringing drugs into the jail in 2018. In February of 2019, Hounihan was convicted of misdemeanor possession of burglary tools and theft.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 17, 2019, in Department 5 of the Visalia Division of the Tulare County Superior Court where Hounihan faces up to 6 years and 8 months in prison. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Grigor Momjyan and Sean Sangree and was investigated by the Visalia Police Department.