DNA solves win­dow crime, four years on

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL SPORT - By CHE BAKER and EMMA DAWE

It may have taken al­most four years, but a crime com­mit­ted at Cromwell’s NRG Health and Fit­ness Cen­tre has been solved, and the gym’s own­ers couldn’t be hap­pier. Sergeant Simon Paget, of Cromwell, said po­lice took a DNA sam­ple from the scene af­ter a win­dow at the gym was bro­ken in 2009. The sam­ple was en­tered into the po­lice data bank. ‘‘Re­cent changes in leg­is­la­tion have pro­vided po­lice with the power to ob­tain a DNA sam­ple when ar­rest­ing a per­son with in­tent to charge them with an of­fence pun­ish­able by im­pris­on­ment,’’ Mr said. So when a 21-year-old Cromwell man was ar­rested last month po­lice were able to ob­tain a DNA sam­ple. ‘‘In the case of the smashed glass, an ESR sci­en­tist found the sam­ples matched and as a re­sult this young man will now ap­pear in the Alexan­dra District court charged with in­ten­tional dam­age,’’ Mr Paget said This was a lo­cal ex­am­ple of the sort of tech­nol­ogy avail­able to po­lice in the 21st cen­tury. ‘‘DNA is a great tool and hopefully in the fu­ture will act as a dis­in­cen­tive for those tempted to com­mit crime,’’ he said.

Paget NRG owner Chantel Knox said she was de­lighted the al­leged of­fender had been caught so long af­ter the of­fend­ing oc­curred and con­grat­u­lated the po­lice on solv­ing the crime. While the of­fend­ing was on a small scale, it had been ‘‘an­noy­ing’’ and she couldn’t un­der­stand why some­one would want to smash a win­dow. Mean­while, Mr Paget said that he was pleased to report that crime was con­tin­u­ing on a down­ward trend in Cromwell. ‘‘It’s great to see some key mes­sages we have been pro­mot­ing have been taken up by the com­mu­nity.’’ Most no­tice­ably there was an in­crease in peo­ple re­port­ing sus­pi­cious or prob­lem be­hav­iour via 111, en­abling po­lice to re­spond and pre­vent is­sues from es­ca­lat­ing.

Photo: EMMA DAWE

Glad: NRG Health and Fit­ness owner Chantel Knox by the win­dow that was smashed al­most four years ago. Po­lice last week ar­rested a 21-year-old Cromwell man in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent.

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