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DNA Helps Track Serial Burglars

Two serial burglars and a gunman, responsible for a daytime triple shooting are going to be arrested, because of art and science.
From the beat cop to the detective, Cincinnati Police have figured out the art of gathering evidence for the science of DNA testing. Even flakes of skin can identify a criminal with certainty.

There is something else, the new policy of taking DNA from anyone arrested for a felony that is entered into a database.
Local 12's Deborah Dixon shows us how the art and science is a one two punch for the bad guys.

Crime scene investigators, the TV kind, working in a blue haze, discovering answers in an hour...

These are the everyday crime scene investigators, cops responding to a triple shooting on Liberty in May. They all get the DNA thing, how to protect evidence, so detectives can collect it for testing.

In this case, the getaway car wrecked and left clues behind, a hoody with enough skin sweat or hair for a DNA profile, and a print.

Lt. David Johnston, Cincinnati Police:
"Got DNA off sweatshirt, matched palm print from car, although victim was uncooperative, able to identify suspect."

That suspect will soon be arrested.

"Somebody does something, shoots three people, commits other crimes the fact DNA return good palm print is really big for us."

It took two years for a DNA match in the violent robbery of Grammer's German restaurant on Walnut Street in 2011. Three men held guns to the heads of customers and workers.  Before the robbery, they sipped vodka cranberry drinks with a straw, leaving saliva for DNA testing behind. When Shannon Howard was arrested in Dayton this year, his DNA profile was entered into the DNA database.  It matched the profile on one of the straws.

"It took a while, but we arrested three individuals who violently terrorized four people here."

When a burglar broke into this apartment on Walnut Street, he left behind DNA to identify him.  He's not arrested yet, but he's suspected in several other burglaries.

Another serial burglar's been identified through DNA he left behind while breaking into the Christ Child Daycare Center on Findlay Street.  He's suspected in five burglaries, including a school. He always takes electronics.

Captain Gary Lee, Cincinnati Police:
"The use of DNA science, the ability to recognize and collect it, goes a long way to identify career criminals, who chronically prey on other members of the community."

When he gets arrested, the DNA results will be hard to fight.  The Hamilton County DNA Lab's analysis says there is one chance if 4 sextillion 29 quintillion that the DNA is not his.

In case you are wondering, a sextillion has 21 zeros. Or, one sextillion is ten-thousand million.




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