LOWELL -- A 45-year-old Lowell man will serve at least a year in jail for stealing cash, credit cards and other valuables from cars in December and January.

James J. Wood Jr., 45, who says he is homeless, pleaded guilty in Lowell District Court on Friday to: breaking and entering a motor vehicle (five counts), receiving stolen property (three counts), larceny over $250, and municipal ordinance violation -- folding knives (two counts).

Judge Ellen Caulo sentenced Wood to two years in jail, with one year suspended while he is on probation until 2016.

Defense attorney Erich Bryant asked for a lighter sentence. He said Wood, the father of eight children, has mental-health issues and physical problems.

Caulo balked at a lesser sentence. She said seven or eight victims had their cars broken into, some with smashed windows, and their personal and financial items stolen.

Lowell police allege in court documents that Wood was responsible for breaking into cars on Dec. 4, and in YMCA parking lot on YMCA Drive on Jan. 26

Lowell police who responded to the report of thefts on Jan. 26 said they found Wood and another suspect had items that were stolen from cars in the YMCA lot.

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