That can of Pepsi or Coke may be your downfall.
DNA evidence lifted from a soda can found at a burglary scene a few months ago led to a recent arrest by the North Bergen Police Department.
Back on June 29 at 3:12 p.m., police responded to a burglary call at 73rd Street and Kennedy Boulevard, according to Detective Bureau Commander Lt. Frank Cannella.
Cannella said last week that the homeowner told police that the burglar had attempted to break into his garage and remove several items, but when confronted, he dropped the stolen goods and fled the scene.
“This is probably the greatest crime fighting tool since fingerprinting.” – Nicholas Sacco
“We believed it was discarded by the actor,” said Cannella.
Police swabbed the can and submitted it for DNA analysis, which was completed by the New Jersey Forensic Science and Technology Center Lab in Hamilton, N.J.
DNA hit leads to arrest
Last week, police received news on the DNA sample.
The DNA matched previous submitted DNA on CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System by the New Jersey crime lab, said Cannella.
Ignacio Perez, 54, whom police said has a lengthy criminal history of burglaries, had the matching DNA.
Police procured a warrant and arrested him on Nov. 2. His bail was set at $21,000. He was taken to Hudson County Jail.
At the time of his arrest, Perez was living in a secured halfway house in Newark, but his record showed previous addresses in Union City and North Bergen.
Cannella said that DNA matches on CODIS enable police to issue warrants and complete investigations.
“We have been very fortunate due to the fact that Mayor [and State Sen. Nicholas] Sacco introduced legislation that required the taking of DNA from all individuals that are incarcerated in this state,” said Cannella.
He said that local police have been able to crack at least four cases because of DNA matches.
Sacco explained that he sponsored a package of seven DNA bills that created the New Jersey criminal DNA database in 1994 under Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-32nd Dist.) sponsored the version of the bill that passed through the New Jersey General Assembly. DNA is now taken from those incarcerated in jail as a condition of their release.
“DNA was a new concept then,” said Sacco. “Since then, we have expanded its usage, and hopefully we will be able to expand it further.”
Sacco said that the main goal was to stop repeat offenders and continue to solve more crimes.
“This is probably the greatest crime-fighting tool since fingerprinting, and I’m proud this was my bill,” said Sacco.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.