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DNA Helping Tulsa Police Catch Crooks

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Though DNA evidence was once only used in violent crimes, Tulsa police are having great success using it in property crimes. Though DNA evidence was once only used in violent crimes, Tulsa police are having great success using it in property crimes.
Criminals often leave behind a considerable amount of DNA evidence, according to Sgt. Brandon Watkins, Tulsa Police Department. Criminals often leave behind a considerable amount of DNA evidence, according to Sgt. Brandon Watkins, Tulsa Police Department.
DNA evidence is helping solve some of Tulsa's  approximate 500 home burglaries and 100 business burglaries a month. DNA evidence is helping solve some of Tulsa's approximate 500 home burglaries and 100 business burglaries a month.

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- DNA is frequently used to solve violent crimes like rape and murder, but now it's also being used to catch people who commit property crimes, like robbery and burglary.

In just the last month alone, 10 burglaries in Tulsa have been solved by DNA evidence, something that would've been unheard of just a few years ago.

The person who broke into Tulsa's Name Brand Clothing store last year to get into the store safe, tried to cover his tracks by setting the business on fire. What that fire couldn't cover was the blood he left behind that contained his DNA.

Months later when detectives developed Antonio Myrie as a possible suspect, that DNA was a match.

"It was a crime that no doubt would not have been solved without  DNA," said Sgt. Brandon Watkins, Tulsa Police Department.

Myrie in on trial this week.The case should go to the jury sometime Friday.

Police say this latest trend is a big boon for solving burglaries. They say officers are better about collecting samples at the scene, and Tulsa's police lab is great about running analysis on those samples and getting results back in a timely manner.

Detectives say you'd be surprised how much DNA burglars leave behind and not just blood from breaking glass and getting a cut.

"Some leave behind clothes; their hat will come off or their gloves come off. They'll do something to leave behind large amounts of DNA: throw a cigarette down, spit - people leave behind traces," Watkins said.

Police say the 10 hits they got this month in the national DNA database called CODIS can point them in the right direction but aren't enough alone to make a case.

"We still do the old fashioned investigative stuff. We don't leave that part of it out. DNA is a part of it - it's a great tool - but it's not the end of the investigation," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Brandon Watkins.

As Tulsa averages around 500 home burglaries and 100 business break-ins a month,  detectives are excited about anything that helps them make arrests.

The Rogers County Sheriff's Department is close to prosecuting its first ever DNA burglary case as well. Officers hope the trend will soon include other property crimes, making criminals think twice before breaking the law.

 

 

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