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DNA Helps Solve Redstone Township Robbery

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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REDSTONE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Five years ago, a convenience store clerk was held up at gunpoint by two men on Route 40 in Redstone Township, Fayette County.

When she refused to give them money, the gunman fired a couple of rounds over her head and ran.

Now a man is charged with that crime man, Vikram Yamba, now 27. It seems that DNA has a long memory.

“DNA, if stored properly, can exist for years, decades or longer,” says Beth Ann Marne, Director of Forensic DNA Division, Pennsylvania State Police.

At the time of the robbery police discovered discarded clothing near the scene, comparing it with what store surveillance video showed the gunmen wearing.

The clothing samples were sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab and entered into the FBI’s combined DNA Index System also called “CODIS.”

“And it’s searched on a weekly basis, so we are continually looking at those older cases trying to give officers that investigative lead.”

Initially, there was no match, but recently lab technicians had a possible one pop up. It was enough for a search warrant to obtain DNA from Yamba.

Yamba, a former Criminal Justice Major at California University entered the system when he was charged in a shooting incident shortly after the armed robbery. He also has a history of credit card and wire fraud charges.

“We provide leads to law enforcement all over the Commonwealth and it happens weekly.”

Using DNA as a forensic tool has been around since the 80’s but there have been immense improvements in technology and now just three or four cells left at a crime scene can produce a full DNA profile.

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