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El Dorado County Thief Caught One Year After Crime Highlights Need For Rapid DNA Testing

CBS Sacramento logoCBS Sacramento 1/22/2021 Syndicated Local – CBS Sacramento

EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — A thief who got away with $50,000 in cash in El Dorado County was tracked down an entire year after the crime.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said deputies finally got results back from DNA evidence gathered at the scene, and they arrested the suspect in Roseville. The thief had stolen the cash from a wall safe in the El Dorado Hills La Cresta area.

Deputies said they got the DNA evidence off of tools he left behind at the scene. But getting that through a lab is not like the movies, it’s a process full of delays.

“It’s months and months, if not a year like this case before we get a match back on it,” said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

Pierson said property crimes are sent to the back of the line.

“It’s not as serious as a rape or a murder or something like that. So it wouldn’t receive the same level of priority,” he said.

But Pierson is pushing for a game-changer: technology known as rapid DNA testing. It involves a different type of machine that could get results back to the police within two hours. That means no more waiting on understaffed labs for leads. The goal is to close cases faster and get criminals off the streets sooner.

“The reality is, almost always, the people that are committing those types of property crimes are also committing other crimes,” Pierson said.

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Pierson said California has been a pioneer in this field. But the technology is not widespread. So far, rapid DNA testing has only been used to help identify bodies in natural disasters, including the Camp Fire.

“Now we’re doing it where we are taking it and using it in all sorts of different cases,” Pierson said.

CBS13 asked Pierson if he realistically sees this technology expanding to all levels of law enforcement.

“I think within a year to two years, law enforcement will be using this technology everywhere,” he said.


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