A 30-year-old Nazareth man, accused of stealing guns during 2021 burglaries on a Palmer Township property, was charged Thursday after DNA evidence pointed to him as a suspect, township police report in court papers.
Christopher James Brown, 30, of the 200 block of Oak Street, did not appear to be in custody in Pennsylvania as Thursday afternoon, records show.
Township police allege Brown entered a property between Feb. 12, 2021, and March 11 of that year in the 1300 block of Van Buren Road.
A pole building, a storage shed, a 53-foot storage trailer and a camper trailer were broken into there, the property owner told police just after 2 p.m. March 11, 2021, court papers say.
Several firearms, ammunition and tools were stolen, police said. The items were worth more than $2,000, the owner told officers, court papers say.
There was more than $5,000 in damage to the structures and several vehicles, police said.
As detectives were processing the camper, they found an empty plastic drink bottle that the owner said wasn’t his, police reported. They also found a cigarette butt nearby which appeared to have been left relatively recently and the owner said wasn’t his either, court papers say.
On March 17, 2021, “several items of evidence” — including the bottle and the butt — were sent to a Pennsylvania State Police laboratory for DNA testing, court papers say.
On Jan. 22, 2022, the DNA profile from the plastic bottle was downloaded by a township detective and then uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System, court papers say. It subsequently pointed to a person who couldn’t be eliminated — Brown, police said.
On March 24 of this year, a township detective got a report from Nazareth police that referenced a drug investigation that began July 22, court papers say. On Aug. 2, a search warrant was executed at Brown’s home in that probe and a Remington 700 long rifle and a Vanguard 7mm long rifle were recovered, police said.
On April 1, 2022, the owner of the Palmer property inspected the weapons and their serial numbers and said they were his and had been stolen in the burglaries, court papers say.
Brown, who is out on $50,000 bail in the Nazareth case that involved charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance, was charged Thursday with the four counts of burglary in the 2021 Palmer Township case as well as three counts of theft, two counts of receiving stolen property and single counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief, records show.
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Tony Rhodin can be reached at email@example.com.