Beaufort County investigators identify Sun City burglary suspect through DNA testing

Beaufort County investigators identify Sun City burglary suspect through DNA testing

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - “CODIS DNA Testing” sounds like something out of a science fiction movie - but it’s how police test DNA to find criminals.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office just used CODIS testing, or The Combined DNA Index System, to track down a Sun City burglary suspect. Once they got an arrest warrant, they picked him up the same day.

Less than 24 hours after Major Bob Bromage put out an arrest warrant for a man they had linked to three crimes, through DNA testing, they got their guy. He says it’s all thanks to countywide laboratories.

“February through April of this year, there were numerous burglaries reported in the Sun City community," Bromage said.

Property crimes are some of the least-solved crimes in the nation, according to Bromage. He says their countywide lab allows police to find suspects.

“The value of having a laboratory at a county level is we’re able to look into these lesser crimes like burglary and breaking into motor vehicles; not just violent crimes.”

He says their lab processes several crimes through CODIS - a nation wide DNA system that is able to identify anyone with a previous record. When they ran DNA found at three Sun City burglaries, they got a hit.

“It returned a match to a 54-year-old Paul Matson, who was actually a resident of Sun City.”

Matson was arrested in Jasper County earlier this year, which is why his DNA was in the system. On Oct. 9, they filed an arrest warrant. Within hours, he was in handcuffs.

“Paul Matson was pulled over and arrested on those six warrants without incident.”

Residents of the county say knowing the sheriff’s office has the resources to solve property crimes - not just violent crimes - is crucial.

“Certainly gets a criminal off the street a lot faster, and makes it safer for those who’s homes the criminals are breaking in to," said resident, Rick Deckelbaum.

Deckelbaum appreciates the sheriff’s office teaming up with Sun Cities security to catch Matson.

“I think it’s critical for the local sheriffs office to have a good working relationship with the gated communities.”

Bromage says they capture people using CODIS all the time, but this case is exciting because it happened so quickly and so efficiently.

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