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DNA Evidence Helps Solve 3-Year-Old Burglary

Drop of blood left on Bethlehem Township gas station floor matched DNA sample taken from suspect.

 

A DNA swab of the floor of a Bethlehem Township gas station after a burglary on Halloween 2009 has led to charges against a fired employee, who got away with $200 from the lottery register after spending just 17 seconds in the station, court records say.

Marco Antonio Fuentes, 24, of 709 B Ramblewood Lane in Bethlehem’s Marvine-Pembroke neighborhood has been charged almost three years after the burglary at Rudy’s Gulf, 2900 Easton Ave.

Township police investigator Stephen B. Malitzki Jr., who filed the criminal complaint, spoke to Fuentes about six weeks after the incident. Fuentes said he had no involvement. He had been fired from Rudy’s about two weeks before the burglary, the records say.

The DNA swab from the gas station did not eliminate Fuentes as a possible suspect, although a state police report called the DNA profile “unidentified.”

But police then learned that Fuentes had been charged by Allentown police in September 2011 and that a DNA sample had been taken. Court records show that Fuentes pleaded guilty in October 2011 in Lehigh County Court to a charge of theft by unlawful taking. Charges of receiving stolen property and unauthorized use of motor/other vehicles were dropped.

On Feb. 1 of this year, Malitzki served a search warrant to obtain a sample of Fuentes’ DNA. Fuentes refused to speak to Malitzki when the search warrant was served at Northampton County Adult Probation offices.

Malitzki received a state police lab report dated March 19, concluding that Fuentes’ DNA swab from Feb. 1 matched the DNA swab from the gas station.

Other facts from the criminal complaint:

  • It was a Freemansburg police officer, Peter Pavlovic, who told Bethlehem Township police around 5:19am on Oct. 31, 2009 he saw that a glass window door had been broken out at Rudy’s Gulf.
  • Surveillance video from the station showed glass being broken on the front door at 12:15am. It showed one person entering, then seconds later showed the person near the lottery drawer and then leaving. He was in the station for only about 17 seconds.
  • A Bethlehem Township officer spotted a drop of “semi fresh blood” on the floor in an area where the person could have walked. That blood was sent to the state police lab. Police also learned the floor had been wet mopped just before the station closed on Oct. 30.

Fuentes was charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief. He was arraigned Wednesday by District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer Township and was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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