"The answer is, at 2:30 yesterday morning, chasing a burglar down the hall at my San Francisco hotel until my Achilles tendon ruptured and I fell in an ignominious heap to the carpeting," he explained Wednesday in the quiz show's signature answer-before-question format.
Lucinda Moyers, 56, was arrested on suspicion of felony burglary and possession of stolen property. She's accused of stealing cash, a bracelet and other items from the room where Trebek was staying with his wife, Jean.
On Thursday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jeff Ross set Moyers' bail at $625,000 and ordered her to stay at least 150 feet away from the Trebeks.
Moyers, in an orange jail jumpsuit, said "yes" when Ross asked if she wanted a public defender. Her arraignment was postponed until Monday.
In a jail interview, Moyers told KGO-TV that she didn't go into Trebek's hotel room and believes she was arrested because of her criminal record or because it was the host of a popular syndicated game show who reported the burglary.
"I haven't done nothing. I haven't gone in his room or nothing. Just like I said that night, `I wasn't in your room.' And I stick by that. I wasn't in his room," Moyers said.
The public defender's office declined to comment on the charges but "looks forward to conducting an investigation on Ms. Moyers' behalf," said spokeswoman Tamara Aparton.
Trebek, 71, said he snapped the Achilles tendon while running after the woman around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. He is scheduled to have surgery Friday and is expected to be in a cast for six weeks.
Trebek, who has hosted "Jeopardy!" since 1984, told KNTV he was sleeping at the Marriott Marquis Hotel when he realized someone was inside his room looking through his belongings.
"I woke up and saw a figure in our hotel bedroom and I thought I was dreaming," he said. "A moment later, I got up and saw that the door was being held open by a wad of tissue. I opened the door and saw a woman walking away, and I realized immediately that someone had been in the room."
Trebek said he ran down the hall and confronted her.
"She came out of the little room where the ice machine is and I said, `What were you doing in our room?"' Trebek said. "She said, `I wasn't in your room!' I said, `What are you doing up here?' She said, `I was visiting friends.' I said, `No, you weren't. Let's see what security has to say about that."
"As I reached for the phone to call security, she bolted. She ran down the hall. I chased her. And I didn't get more than 25 feet before my right Achilles tendon ruptured and I crashed to the ground."
The suspect was apprehended inside the hotel and most of the stolen items were recovered near the ice machine, but no cash was found, San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
"We got most of our stuff back, except the one piece of jewelry that I ever wear," Trebek told KGO-TV. "It's a bracelet that my mother gave me many years ago, so that's gone, and cash."
It was unclear if Trebek was targeted or how the burglar got into his room, said Erica Derryck, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
Derryck said Moyers has two prior residential burglary convictions in San Francisco from 1990 and 1991 and served time in state prison.
Prosecutors are still determining whether to charge Moyers under California's "three-strikes" law, which could result in a more extensive punishment if she's found guilty again, Derryck said.