DNA From Stems of Stolen Strawberries Leads to Arrest of Burglary, Car Theft Suspect: Glendale Police

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A suspect was apprehended after police used DNA evidence from the discarded stems of stolen strawberries to link him to several burglaries in Los Angeles and Glendale, police announced Friday.

Michael Ramirez Arriaga is seen in a booking photo released by Glendale police.

Michael Ramirez Arriaga is seen in a booking photo released by Glendale police.

The evidence that helped them crack open the case was collected months ago, after officers responded to a break-in at a catering van in the 3100 block of Emerald Isle Drive on May 1, according to a Glendale Police Department news release.

During that investigation, police discovered that the intruder had stolen some fresh strawberries from the vehicle, the release stated.

Officers searched the area and found several stems from the consumed berries, which they collected as evidence. The stems were then submitted for DNA testing.

Investigators were then able to use that DNA evidence to identify 23-year-old Michael Ramirez Arriaga as the suspect in that case, according to police.

"Arriaga’s DNA was collected in 2017 involving an arrest for possession of brass knuckles," authorities said.

In addition to the DNA evidence, police also obtained surveillance video purporting to show Arriaga going into the yard of a neighboring home. Investigators believe he entered the residence and stole a wallet, the release stated.

On Wednesday, Glendale detectives served a search warrant at Arriaga's L.A. residence. While combing through the home, detectives found what they thought were stolen items from several burglaries, according to the release.

Authorities have since confirmed the merchandise has since been linked to two burglaries in L.A. and another in Glendale. In the latter incident, the suspect is also accused of stealing a vehicle after taking the car keys from the home, police said.

Arriaga was arrested on suspicion of burglary of an occupied residential home. It was not immediately clear whether he would face any other charges.

He was due in court Friday and is being held on $100,000 bail, according to L.A. County jail records.

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