Highland Park Police Use DNA Testing to Catch Jewelry Thief

Police believe he's broken into more than six homes

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Thursday, Mar 8, 2012  |  Updated 12:15 AM CDT
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Highland Park police used blood left behind at the scene of a home break-in to arrest a man suspected of burglarizing at least six homes.

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Highland Park police used blood left behind at the scene of a home break-in to arrest a man suspected of burglarizing at least six homes.

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Highland Park police used blood left behind at a crime scene to solve a string of home break-ins.

Police arrested Hugh Meyers, a career criminal, in connection with a burglary six months ago. Investigators said they believe he broke into at least five other homes in Highland Park alone.

"We are comparing notes with Dallas and other cities, so they can close their cases," Sgt. Lance Koppa said.

Blood left behind at the scene of the most recent burglary in Highland Park came back as a match on Meyers, according to police. Meyers was already in the system, as he has been in and out of jail since 1974.

The budgets of most cities only allow for DNA testing for violent crimes such as homicides and sexual assaults. But Highland Park, which experiences very little violent crime, is using DNA testing to solve car thefts and home break-ins.

"We are absolutely grateful that we have the ability to use this as an investigative tool," Koppa said.

Highland Park detectives surprised Meyers at a morning meeting with his parole officer.

"I would think if you were going to a routine meeting, and he gets arrested by another agency, he was real surprised," Koppa said.

A jewelry thief cleaned out Webb and Terry Sowden's jewelry cabinets six months ago. They said they are relieved an arrest has been made.

"It makes me feel great," Webb Sowden said. "But more importantly, Terry, my wife, will sleep much easier tonight because this has been a real burden on her, psychologically."

Meyers is being held in the Highland Park jail, awaiting an arraignment. Police have charged him with one count of burglary but expect to file others.

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