Using advances in technology, South Brunswick Police were able to solve a series of crimes over the past three weeks from as far back as 2010.
On Tuesday, a Warren County man was charged in connection with a burglary at a Deans Lane residence in Sept. 2011, after police used DNA evidence from blood droplets found at the scene of the crime.
Justin Mercer, 30, allegedly cut himself when he broke a rear window to gain access into the home.
Blood evidence was recovered at the scene by South Brunswick Det. Michael Pellino, who sent the samples to the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science.
The lab then developed a DNA “hit” that allegedly matched the blood found at the burglary scene to Mercer, who was already incarcerated at a Warren County jail on carjacking charges.
Det. Roger Tuohy interviewed Mercer and charged him in connection with the burglary. Mercer's bail was set at $50,000.
South Brunswick Police also recently used fingerprint evidence to break a vandalism case that occurred in 2010. Investigators were able to match a latent fingerprint found at the construction site of a new home that was spray painted in Sept. 2010 to a juvenile suspect from another part of Middlesex County.
In that case, Det. Pellino processed items that were left at the scene and was able to locate a partial fingerprint impression. Pellino then submitted the print for analysis to the New Jersey State Police AFIS unit. The print match came in about two weeks ago and was connected to a teenager in another part of the county, according to police. The suspect will be charged with juvenile complaints of criminal mischief.
In another recent case of police using advances in technology, for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit photographs with a 13-year-old South Brunswick girl.
Det. Ron Seaman was able to use computer forensics to identify an embedded GPS location on a photo the suspect allegedly sent to the victim, police said. That information led police to charge Eugene Ballantyne, 29, of Running Springs, Ca., with the crime.
“In each of these cases investigators maximized the resources available to them to capture their suspects," said Chief Raymond Hayducka via release. "The face of policing is changing, we need to use all the technology available to stay ahead of offenders and hold them accountable. Good police work starts with the basics of solid crime scene processing followed by coordination with advances in technology. These cases exemplify good police work and determination to track offenders down.”