A Kansas City, North, man has been charged in two burglaries with the help of DNA testing.
Joseph Raymond Kerns, 38, was charged Wednesday with second-degree burglary and theft in connection with a January 2014 break-in. He is already facing another burglary charge stemming from an incident in late February, according to the Clay County prosecutor’s office.
On Jan. 13, 2014, the owner of a vacant house at in the 4300 block of Northeast Arbor Road told Kansas City police someone had broken in and taken copper lines, according to court records.
Jim Roberts, a spokesman for the prosecutor, said the burglar apparently was injured and left blood at the scene.
Kansas City police checked the blood’s genetic profile against the National Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, and got a hit on Kerns in December 2014.
Roberts said the DNA match was the only way police could have identified a suspect in the burglary.
“That would never have been solved without that blood because there weren’t fingerprints or anything else,” Roberts said.
Kerns’s DNA also was found on a cigarette butt left in a house in the 2500 block of Northeast 46th Street between Feb. 28 and March 1. The owner of the house found a broken window and several items missing, according to court records.
The crime laboratory came back with another hit on Kerns, who was charged with second-degree burglary on April 22.
DNA evidence has long been indispensable to investigations of homicides and other serious crimes, Roberts said, and testing samples from those kinds of cases takes priority over running evidence from property crimes.
Roberts predicted DNA testing will become more prominent in property crime investigations as backlogs in crime laboratories are cleared.