Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 30, 2014
Drop of blood may solve business burglary cases

A DNA match from a drop of blood has pointed police to a suspect in a rash of Tooele business burglaries from last March.

On March 1, 2013 officers from the Tooele City Police Department responded to five burglaries at New China Buffet, GNC, Great Clips, American Burger and Dry Cleaning and Beyond.

At about 7:45 a.m. on that day, a burglary was reported at Dry Cleaning and Beyond, where an employee came to work only to find the front door shattered and the cash drawer moved inside, according to the report. A security camera showed a man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark bandanna hiding his face coming into the business at 7:01 a.m. and moving the cash drawer.

About a half hour later, officers were dispatched to another report of a business burglary at New China Buffet. There, officers found a shattered door and a forced-open cash register and filing cabinet, according to a police report. The owner said he estimated about $300 had been taken between the cash register and filing cabinet.

The same morning, another officer reported to Great Clips and GNC, next-door neighbors, on reports that both had been burglarized, according to the report. The safe at Great Clips had been moved to the back of the store and a hole had been cut into it. About $150 was removed. Another safe had also been cut into and about $300 was taken from it, according to the report, as well as $60 from a desk in the back of the office.

A hole had been made in the drywall separating Great Clips and GNC. The safe at GNC had also been cut into and another $150 was reported taken from it, as well as $20 from the cash register, according to the report.

Yet another business burglary was reported that morning at American Burger, where the owner told officers the lock had been broken off of the main entrance to the restaurant, the back office forced open and $300 taken.

A security video showed a man wearing a hooded jacket and dark bandanna over his face breaking into the store, heading into the back office and leaving within about two minutes, the report states.

Based on the time on the two security videos, officers believe the first burglary occurred at American Burger at 6:40 a.m., then moved to New China Buffet, Dry Cleaning and Beyond, then to GNC and Great Clips.

On one of the safes at Great Clips, investigators spotted a red droplet that appeared to be blood, the report states, and red smears were found on a shelf and on the back of the desk near the shelf. Those were swabbed and sent for analysis.

A car key left at the scene and a tip from one of the business owners had police looking at one suspect, but his fingerprints did not match those found at any of the scenes and his car had not been moved in several weeks.

Another suspect, who had allegedly committed a business burglary in another part of town, was also interviewed, but little connected him to the five, the report states.

Capt. Paul Wimmer of the Tooele City Police Department, said DNA results were a match with Christian Wayne Pyle, 52, who is currently serving a prison sentence for six separate theft-related cases in the Salt Lake City District and Farmington District courts, as well as one from Tooele County, for an incident in Wendover. Pyle also has three cases filed against him in Price that are awaiting a hearing.

According to court records, 11 cases, most carrying multiple charges, were filed against Pyle in Utah in 2013. According to the police report, Lt. Dan Chamberlain of the Grantsville City Police Department told Tooele City Police at the time that Pyle was under investigation for a business burglary in Grantsville, as well as the one in Wendover.

Last November, DNA test results on the blood smears came back as a match to Pyle’s profile in the Utah Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. A warrant was obtained earlier this month to take an additional sample from Pyle to verify the match, the report states, which was obtained at the Utah State Prison. The report states that Pyle declined to talk to the detective at the time he went to get the sample.

Wimmer said although the sample will still take months to be tested, investigators feel confident enough about the first match and other evidence to close out the case.

“The confirmation will be good for the prosecution when it goes to trial,” Wimmer said. “We feel there’s probable cause off the initial hit and the search warrant for the current swab on him is more for prosecution purposes.”

The five businesses estimate a total of $4,902 in theft and damages. The case has been submitted to the Tooele County Attorney’s office for review.

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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