NEW ALBANY — A New Albany man has been charged and served a warrant after a months-long investigation into what police say was his involvement in a burglary at an assisted living facility.
Lawrence G. Case, 35, was served the warrant for a level 4 felony related to a burglary in June at Muir Manor on Spring Street in New Albany; the warrant was served while he was held in Clark County jail on a separate charge.
During an initial hearing Thursday in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1, Case was appointed a public defender and bond was set at $25,000 court cash.
Court records show that on June 7, police were called to the scene where the complainant reported he had just fled. A right hand black glove was found atop a bag full of items police believe he was attempting to steal, and video surveillance of the incident showed a man wearing on his left hand the same type glove that was found at the scene.
Crime scene investigators submitted the glove to the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS, a national database used by law enforcement to connect leads or obtain convictions in criminal cases. On Aug. 23, a DNA profile match for Lawrence was returned.
Clark County jail staff executed a search warrant on Lawrence's DNA and during an interview with Clark County police, court records show he admitted to breaking into the building to steal soft drinks and snacks, which he said he ate inside.
The formal charge was filed Aug. 30; Lawrence has a pretrial conference set for Nov. 12 and Jan. 7, with a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 28.
The CODIS database has been in use since 1996, but a new law that took effect in 2018 has expanded its reach. As of Jan. 1, 2018, any person arrested in Indiana and charged with a felony must submit to a DNA sample; this is along with being fingerprinted and having their photo taken during the booking process.
If the person is acquitted or the charges are dropped to a misdemeanor, the sample may be destroyed, the law reads. Online court records show Lawrence was arrested in Clark County in November 2018 on a separate felony charge, when his DNA would have been taken. It is unknown whether his DNA would have been in the system prior to that for an out of state charge.
The Indiana State Police Laboratory Division maintains monthly statistics on the number of samples collected and how they have linked crimes.
In September, there were 6,471 Indiana cases linked to a potential suspect (nationally) by a CODIS hit, according to the data sheet. Of these, burglary was the most common with 3,665 cases.
Of the roughly 56,000 samples taken from felony arrests since the new law started last year, 632 had hits in criminal cases as of Sept. 30.
Floyd County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chris Lane was unable to immediately confirm when reached by phone late Thursday afternoon whether there had been other DNA matches in Floyd County cases since the new law went into effect in 2018. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said in a text message that he had not been informed of any regarding Clark County cases.