DNA leads to arrest in pawn shop burglary

About a year ago, a burglar broke into Pelican Pawn in Baton Rouge and left with more than two dozen firearms and some jewelry — a haul the store’s manager put at about $25,000.

The burglar fled the store the same way he entered — through a hole cut in the roof — but not before leaving behind some important clues: two spots of blood at the entry point and a glove on the floor that also had blood on it, court records show.

That evidence led prosecutors this month to charge Curtis Lee Roddy, 23, 723 Lavinia St., with one count of simple burglary, a felony. Roddy was still being held Thursday in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in lieu of about $135,000 bond, jail officials said.

“The police have done a fabulous job,” said Brad Boring, manager of the pawn shop. “We’ve taken precautions, and it will never happen to us again.”

The break-in happened at 5:20 a.m. on May 29, 2012, at the pawn shop at 2646 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge police said.

“The defendant removed a vent to access a hole in the roof and then removed some metal bars that were covering the hole,” an affidavit of probable cause says.

Over the course of several minutes, Boring said, the suspect “ripped open showcases and ripped boards off of stuff” inside the store. A wide array of handguns and several rings were stolen, according to court records.

“It’s a pretty big thing for your pocketbook for sure,” Boring said of the burglary, “but it’s a real big thing when it comes to people’s safety.”

Detectives collected the blood samples and the glove left at the scene and sent them to the State Police Crime Lab, which “matched” the evidence to Roddy’s DNA profile, according to court documents.

That led officers to take out a search warrant for Roddy’s home in March, but they didn’t recover any stolen firearms there, police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

To verify the lab’s findings, officers also obtained a warrant to take oral swabs from Roddy, who had already
been booked with possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance and
driving with a suspended license.

Roddy told investigators he no longer had the stolen firearms, an affidavit says, and that “some unknown person robbed him and took the guns from him.”

Boring said his store has since installed a vault to store all of its guns.

“Now if you want a gun, you’ve got to get in the vault to get it,” he said.

McKneely said police are still seeking to recover the missing firearms. Anyone with information about the firearms can contact police at (225) 389-3824.