DNA Helps Lewisville Police Investigate Property Crimes

DNA evidence may have helped Lewisville police solve two property crimes dating back to 2008.

Detectives have received multiple hits within the past month from a national database that tracks crime DNA.

The first possible match was in mid-February from a string of car break-ins back in October of 2008. A Lewisville officer found a small amount of blood in one of the vehicles and cataloged it into the Combined DNA Index System, commonly known as CODIS.

Capt. Jay Powell said the DNA is kept on file in CODIS along with DNA from suspects and criminals booked into jails across the nation.

In this case, the person matching that blood sample was incarcerated elsewhere on a different charge and flagged then as a suspect for the 2008 crimes.

A similar hit came into police in mid-January, and was linked to a suspect last week, in regards to a 2011 home burglary on the 1500 block of Juniper Drive. Once again detectives found a small amount of the blood on the scene and that matched with the DNA of a suspect booked on multiple charges in Denton.

Powell said these are not the first successes they’ve had making headway in these smaller, yet significant crimes. He said they’ve successfully linked DNA from things like left over cigarette butts at crime scenes. At one point he said they caught a break-in suspect who made a habit of putting used gum on apartment door peepholes by pulling the person’s DNA from saliva on the gum.

“All it takes is a very small sample,” Powell said.

Powell said it’s a victory to find suspects in cases like these where often folks, including police, don’t expect to find much closure.

“You don’t. So many times with, for instance, car burglaries or home burglaries, we don’t have many leads to go on,” Powell said.

Powell said the effort and resources to stick with these cases long term and let DNA matches help get offenders off the streets.

“Very often if you have a burglar, they don’t go out and commit one burglary,” Powell said, “Very often that’s what they do is commit those types of crimes. You might prevent countless numbers of crimes from taking place.”

Any hits police get from the CODIS database have to be verified by officers with another DNA test, however, the hit does give them probable cause to get a search warrant for such, Powell said.

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