TAMPA — For more than a year, Tampa Police detective Raymon Estevez searched for a man who tried to snatch a woman's purse in a grocery store parking lot. He tracked him down with the help of DNA.
At almost 6 a.m. on April 16, a 59-year-old woman had just arrived to work at the 1313 S Dale Mabry Highway Publix supermarket. As she was crossing the parking lot, a man approached her and tried to grab her purse, dragging her to the ground in the process, according to a police incident report.
The suspect eventually let go and ran away as police arrived, but he left his jacket and skateboard behind.
Detective Estevez submitted DNA from the suspect's jacket to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but it didn't come up with a match. He interviewed area businesses and residents with no luck.
Finally this month, the DNA from the jacket hit a match for 21-year-old Justin Martin, police said. Martin's DNA profile had recently been added to the FDLE database after an unrelated arrest.
Estevez notified area officers, who found Martin and questioned him. Police said he denied committing the offense and said the jacket wasn't his.
Estevez tracked down one of Martin's former co-workers, who told the detective that Martin frequently wore the jacket and that the skateboard was Martin's typical transportation to and from work at the time of the offense.
Martin was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of strong arm robbery.
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