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DNA links Clearwater man to stolen jewelry

CLEARWATER — Police say a man accused of stealing more than $3,000 in jewelry during a burglary left behind an unmistakable calling card: his DNA.

Blood found on an alarm control panel at a burglarized home matched 50-year-old William E. Leonhardt of 1914 Seagull Drive, arrest reports said.

Leonhardt, who has an arrest record dating back to 1979 in Pinellas County, was arrested Tuesday on charges of burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.

According to arrest reports, Leonhardt smashed a window pane on a back door to get into a home on Patricia Avenue in mid August and cut himself in the process.

Once inside, Leonhardt ripped the alarm control panel off the wall, reports said.

Clearwater police found blood smudged on the keypad. A forensic technician with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office collected a sample, which was submitted to a national DNA database for testing, according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts. It was not clear Wednesday why Leonhardt's DNA was previously submitted to the database.

"Once we got a hit on the DNA, we were able to put his name in and search for things he's pawned that were connected to the burglary," Watts said.

Police found that Leonhardt pawned nine rings and a charm pendant for $220 at a pawn shop on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, the reports said. Leonhardt used a valid ID, signed his name to the pawn ticket and gave the shop his thumbprint.

When confronted, Leonhardt denied any knowledge of the crime, the reports said.

Leonhardt, who also goes by the name William Lander Williams, has previous convictions for petty theft, burglary, dealing in stolen property, battery, criminal mischief, forgery, grand theft and driving under the influence.

When he was arrested Tuesday, he was out on bond on a charge of loitering and prowling.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

DNA links Clearwater man to stolen jewelry 12/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 6:11pm]
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