DNA From Discarded Strawberry Stems Leads Detectives To Suspected Burglar

posted by City News Service - 

GLENDALE (CNS) - A DNA match from discarded strawberry stems led to the arrest of a 23-year-old Los Angeles man suspected of breaking into a catering van and a home in Glendale, police said today. 

The van was burglarized overnight on May 1 in the 3100 block of Emerald Island Drive, according to Glendale police Sgt. Dan Suttles.

``An investigation into the break-in revealed the suspect had stolen fresh strawberries from the catering truck,'' Suttles said. 

``The officers checked the area and found strawberry stems which were discarded by the suspect after eating. The stems were collected as evidence and submitted for DNA testing at the Verdugo Regional Crime Lab based at the Glendale Police Department.''

The berry stems were matched to suspect Michael Ramirez Arriaga, whose DNA had been collected in 2017 in connection with an arrest for possession of brass knuckles.

``A surveillance camera in the area showed the suspect had also entered the yard of a neighboring home,'' Suttles said. 

``It was quickly discovered that the suspect had made entry into the neighbor's home and stolen a wallet.''

A search warrant was served Wednesday at Arriaga's home, where detectives located items believed to have been stolen during several burglaries.

``Detectives have been able to link the stolen merchandise to two burglaries in Los Angeles and one additional burglary in Glendale in which Arriaga stole a car after taking the keys from inside the home,'' Suttles said, adding that Arriaga was arrested on suspicion of burglary of an occupied residential home.

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