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NOPD Investigators Hope DNA leads To Robbery Arrests

Investigators with the New Orleans Police Department are hoping DNA evidence will lead to arrests in a string of robberies in the Uptown area.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter tells us what kind of evidence crime technicians are relying on.

“You’ve got a lot of tourists walking around spending money on magazine street,” neighbor Tracy Canavan said. “If I were targeting someone to arm rob, it makes sense.”

It’s one theory to explain the recent rash of robberies that has occurred around the Garden District and Lower Garden District areas.

Whatever the reason, New Orleans Police are now hoping DNA evidence collected at several of the crime scenes will lead to arrests.

“Anything to put people who are doing wrong behind bars,” neighbor Ross Becnel said.

“Dead skin cells, just by touching a surface, or handling a particular object and you’ve expelled those cells onto that object,” Forensic Examiner Troy Dickerson said.

It’s widely known that DNA evidence has been critical in prosecuting violent crimes.

Now forensic evidence is routinely being gathered for analysis after burglaries and robberies.

Detectives in Mandeville and Plaquemines are relying on it. The same is now true for the NOPD.

Troy Dickerson explains how it works.

“The door was opened, or the window was broken right here, we might have possible blood,” Dickerson explained. “Let’s collect that and see if we can get a DNA profile from that.”

Remember the string of robberies allegedly committed by a group of bat-wielding teenagers?

One suspect has already been arrested. Now the bat is being analyzed for DNA evidence in hopes of identifying the others involved.

“I guess it’s a good thing,” Canavan said. “Be careful where you spit your gum, if you’re committing a crime.”

The current turnaround on DNA assessments at the State Crime Lab is about three weeks.

Therefore, detectives say it’s too early to tell how helpful DNA evidence will be in this recent rash of robberies.