DNA used to charge John Doe with felony theft in Waukesha and Brookfield

Published on: 4/15/2014

An as-yet unidentified car part thief is being charged with several felony counts of theft after his DNA was found at various crime scenes.

The John Doe, identified in the criminal complaint by his DNA profile, was charged Friday, April 11, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with two felony counts of theft, two felony counts of criminal damage to property, and two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.

District Attorney Brad Schimel authored the criminal complaint and points to two Wisconsin Appellate Court decisions that ruled in favor of filing a warrant based on a DNA profile.

In State v. Dabney (2003), an appellate judge ruled that a John Doe warrant was properly issued for a Milwaukee man later convicted of rape. The Milwaukee District Attorney's Office had issued the warrant mere days before the statute of limitations expired based solely on a DNA profile.

"We conclude that for purposes of identifying 'a particular person' as the defendant, a DNA profile is arguably the most discrete, exclusive means of personal identification possible," the decision states.

The appellate court reaffirmed that decision in State V. Davis (2005).

According to the complaint, the man's DNA profile will be routinely checked against various convicted offender DNA databases throughout the country to find a match.

The complaint states that the first alleged theft took place in July 2012. Employees at Wilde Auto Group on Highway 64 in Waukesha told police that the passenger window of a vehicle had been shattered and items were stolen out of it.

Another vehicle break-in was reported in November 2012, when two rear taillights were pried out of a 2013 Cadillac Escalade at Crest Cadillac in Brookfield.

Waukesha police officers were dispatched to a third car break-in in June 2013, when employees at Boucher Cadillac in Waukesha told police the tires had been stripped from a Cadillac Escalade and a security fence had been damaged. Two vehicles had also been damaged with a large rock, the complaint states.

Police found blood at all three crime scenes and in each instance a sample was sent to state authorities for testing. A DNA analyst with the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory confirmed that the DNA from the crime scenes matched.

A DNA profile was created and checked against the state's offender database in July 2012, December 2012 and July 2013. No matches were found.