WESTFIELD – On television crime dramas, the crime lab comes through with evidence in time to wrap up a case in an hour, less time for commercials.
But it doesn’t happen only on television. Sometimes in real life the crime lab does find evidence, eventually, which allows police to charge a suspect.
In Westfield, a person who had been a suspect became a person charged with a crime due to a cigarette butt left at the scene of the crime which state police analysts found to contain DNA matching that of a person on file.
In February of 2012, police responded to a Connor Avenue address where a resident had returned after being away for a few days to find that a rear door had been forcibly opened and property had been stolen.
The victim told police that computers, a camera, game systems, jewelry, coins and a hand gun had been stolen. The value of the missing property was estimated to be about $10,000.
Although nobody living at the home smokes cigarettes, a cigarette butt, and a rubber glove, were found in the residence and sent to the state police crime lab for analysis.
Recently, the analysts concluded their investigation into the evidence and found that the cigarette butt contained DNA which was found to match that of convicted felon, Jesus M. Gonzalez, 35, of 35 Kellogg Street.
Det. Anthony Tsatsos, who investigated the crime, reports in a document filed in Westfield District Court in support of an application for a criminal complaint, that there had been three other incidents of breaking and entering in the same time period and in the same neighborhood and that Gonzalez had been charged for one of those crimes and was sentenced to a 132 day term.
Gonzalez, Tsatsos reports, is a person of interest in regard to the other two break-ins.
Armed with the DNA evidence, Tsatsos reports Gonzalez was taken into custody on May 1 without incident.
On May 2, Gonzalez appeared before Judge Philip A. Contant for arraignment on charges of larceny of property valued more than $250, larceny of a firearm and vandalizing property.
Contant ordered that he stay away from and have no contact with the victims and set bail at $5,000.
Although Gonzalez had been found to be indigent by the court, bail was posted on his behalf and he was released pending a July 11 pre-trial hearing.