GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A career criminal was in custody Wednesday, accused of breaking into a home. He was nabbed thanks to DNA left at the crime scene.
But he may never have left that clue behind, had it not been for a new security system in the house, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
After someone broke into his Garden City home last fall, Tomas Crowe installed live streaming security cameras and was taken by surprise when just weeks later an alert on his phone went off.
“We were blown away. First, you’re not even sure what you are seeing,” Crowe said.
He was watching live video of a would-be burglar casing his back yard and then …
“You almost think it was like a piece of fabric, like flying in the wind or something. Then you realize — oh my God — that somebody standing on the air conditioning trying to pry open your window,” Crowe said.
He summoned Garden City Police and within seconds officers were chasing the man through the backyard and over a fence.
“He dropped his hat. He dropped a screwdriver. He left a stolen car running in the driveway,” Crowe said.
Police said the perpetrator might have gotten away if not for his DNA, which was left behind on the baseball cap that he dropped while fleeing.
Police said the genetic evidence matched 41-year-old Kenta Shelton of Elmont, who has a long criminal history and DNA in the national database.
“Every time we make an arrest now we are collecting DNA,” Nassau County Police Lt. Richard LeBrun said. “Every year that goes by, every month that goes by, every day that goes by we have more and more evidence and more and more DNA on individuals that have been arrested for crimes.”
Thirty states now swab every person arrested, adding to the more than 1 million accused and felons in the database.
Shelton is charged with attempted burglary and Crowe credits the instant notification of his live-streaming app-based surveillance cameras.
“I think every family needs to have it. All of my neighbors have since put it in,” Crowe said.
The burglar who broke into their house weeks earlier — before cameras were installed — is still at large.
Shelton is being held on $150,000 bond and plead not guilty.