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DNA from water bottle led to burglar’s arrest

The suspect featured above is 33-year-old Marcelo Romero. He is accused of committing a jewelry store burglary in Tampa, FL on April 27, 2019. During that burglary, the subject(s) cut power to the business and pried open the front door. They used a torch cutting instrument to cut into and pry open a safe. The subject(s) escaped with $3 million in jewelry.

The subject(s) left several used water bottles on the store’s counter. Employees said the water bottles were not there at the time they closed the store. DNA from one of the water bottles matched DNA from a February 2019 burglary in Los Angeles, CA at a home owned by actors Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Although there was a match in DNA from the two crimes, the suspects name was unknown to law enforcement.

In October 2019 Romero was arrested in Ventura County, CA for analogous crimes. After searching Romero’s home, investigators recovered stolen property from homes in Ventura, CA. They also found an acetylene torch. Tampa Police spokesperson Eddy Durkin said that torch is consistent with one used to cut safes.

Tampa police Det. Sue Harmison and investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department received a search warrant to get a DNA swab from Romero.

Durkin provided the following statement in a news release: “The DNA comparison between Romero’s DNA swab and the DNA recovered from the water bottle in Tampa showed the DNA was 700 billion times more likely to be from Marcelo Romero than from any other unrelated individual.”