The DNA on a coronavirus mask left discarded at the scene of a break-in helped the Chicago Police Department (CPD) arrest a burglary suspect this month, according to reports.
The robbery occurred at a residence on North Wayne Avenue and was reported to the CPD on February 12 by a homeowner who said she came home from a vacation to find a basement door jimmied open and items missing from the home, Chicago’s NBC 5 reported.
Officers didn’t have much to go on until a woman working as a babysitter for the homeowner discovered a discarded mask. After investigators determined it had not been used by anyone in the home, the evidence was sent off for DNA testing.
According to CWBChicago, the Illinois State Police crime lab found the DNA of 43-year-old Patrick Markle, who has a long record of arrests for burglary.
The testing aided the CPD in tracking down the individual who allegedly broke into the home and burglarized it, investigators said.
The CPD tracked Markle down late last week, arrested him, and charged him with residential burglary.
Markle has been convicted of burglary six times and was out on parole at the time of the break-in.
The Chicago case is similar to one from several weeks ago, where Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resident Mark Poggenpohl was arrested for burglary after investigators found his DNA on a mask left at the scene of a break-in of an Ace Hardware store.
DNA recovered from masks worn to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is increasingly being used in criminal cases. In June, for instance, a man was arrested and charged with rape after his DNA was recovered from a mask he wore to the police station for his interview about the crime. Months prior, in March, a Wisconsin homicide suspect was taken into custody when police tested a mask he had worn to the station. And in 2020, the DNA found on a mask ripped off the face of a mugger in New York City led to the suspect’s apprehension.
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