DNA on a cigarette butt appears key to solving a 2015 car burglary in Holmes Beach.
Matthew Alan Johnson, 41, of Anna Maria, was arrested March 24 for the August 2015 burglary.
According to a Holmes Beach police report, a briefcase, purse, wallet and credit cards were stolen from a vehicle parked at 33rd Street and the beach access. The credit cards were used at an AutoZone shop and a Walmart store in Bradenton.
“Neither of the victims smoked and they noticed that their vehicle smelled like cigarette smoke when they discovered the burglary,” the police report stated.
The victims turned over the butt, witnesses stepped up and evidence grew.
According to reports filed by HBPD Detective Sgt. Brian Hall, a Bradenton woman told police she saw a man throw a bag with paperwork into a trash receptacle in the 5500 block of 24th Street in Bradenton.
The man matched Johnson’s description — age in the mid to lower 40s with salt and pepper hair.
Also, a video showed Johnson using the victim’s credit card for a $286.19 purchase at the Walmart on Cortez Road. The victim’s card also was used to buy $260.36 worth of BMW auto parts at AutoZone, according to a report.
In an October 2015 interview, Hall observed Johnson outside his residence with a BMW in his driveway.
Hall said April 5 he showed Johnson the Walmart video and Johnson said, “That’s not me.”
“Finally, last month, we got a match from the DNA and we issued an arrest warrant,” Hall said.
Police obtained Johnson’s DNA and a lab matched his DNA with that on the cigarette butt. Hall reported the match was rarer than 1 in 700 billion.
After the arrest, Johnson was transported to Manatee County jail, where he posted a $5,000 bond and was released, pending a 9 a.m. Friday, April 28, arraignment.