For the first time ever, a new crime fighting technology will be used in an attempt to convict a man suspected of stealing from a service member.
In September of last year, Palm Bay police said an airman serving in Afghanistan had his home ransacked. Detectives said the burglar cut the power to his home and hauled out $30,000 worth of equipment, including firearms and electronics. The burglar even stole the cable box.
Capt. Diana Blackledge said detectives identified a suspect, but felt they didn't have enough evidence to convict him in court, that is, until they employed a "portable DNA lab in a box."
"There was some blood that was found inside the residence," said Blackledge. "I took a sample of that blood, ran it through the machine, it matched a sample of the suspect."
The RapidHIT DNA200 matched the DNA samples in just 90 minutes. Palm Bay police have been using the new technology, made by IntengenX, since last year.
"It's kind of exciting, because you are not expecting it," said Blackledge. "All of the sudden, you have a match!"
The unit will soon get it's first significant legal test, when the case goes to court. Capt. Blackledge likens this new technology to the first time fingerprints or breathalyzers were tested at trial.
"That wasn't always accepted, always challenged, but we want to send this through the trial and validate it as a good way to process evidence quickly."