CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A convicted serial burglar and habitual criminal who was tracked down by DNA was sentenced to 48 years in prison on Wednesday.
According to the district attorney’s office, Donnie Joe Garcia, 53, of Denver was found to be a habitual criminal after getting caught for a burglary that occurred in November of 2011.
“The defendant entered into a home located on South Santa Fe Drive in Englewood while the disabled resident was at home. The victim noticed a shadow moving throughout his house while he was sitting in his home office. When he attempted to find the source of the suspicious shadow, the victim encountered the defendant standing in the living room. Startled by his presence, the victim asked the defendant what he was doing, and the defendant fled,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Deputies responded and found the suspect stole $55 from the residence and left behind a Big Red Soda bottle. The bottle was submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for DNA analysis and the results were placed in a database that confirmed a match with Garcia’s DNA.
“Officers discovered that the defendant was currently on parole. They also found that the defendant had an extensive criminal history dating back three decades with as many as 12 felony offenses for crimes including burglary and theft.”
Garcia was arrested while at a parole appointment.
“This man has been a menace in this community for three decades. With him behind bars, the community is a safer place,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. “Without the hard work of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, along with our office, this person would still be terrorizing us today.”
“This case is yet another example of the power of DNA evidence in fighting serious crime,” Deputy District Attorney Daniel Seidel said. “Today hopefully marks the end of this prolific burglar’s career, and the day his victims finally receive the justice that they have so long awaited.”
“This habitual criminal made a career out of violating people’s homes and stealing their property,” Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher said.