DNA evidence linked suspect to 2008 Lyon Drug burglary in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

DNA evidence linked suspect to 2008 Lyon Drug burglary in Steamboat

Steven B. Kreis

— New legislation and a wool sock led to an arrest Monday in a nearly three-year-old burglary case.

Steven B. Kreis, 26, of Dillon, turned himself in Monday at Routt County Jail. The Steamboat Springs Police Department had issued a warrant for Kreis’ arrest based on DNA evidence taken from Lyon Drug Store after a May 1, 2008, burglary.

Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Dave Kleiber said a glass panel on a side door at Lyon Drug was broken and 1,054 pills of the prescription drug hydrocodone were stolen. At the time, Kleiber said the only evidence was a grainy surveillance tape and a single wool sock.

The sock was sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for DNA testing, Kleiber said. He said DNA was found but didn’t match anything in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) — that is until recently.

Kleiber said the CBI contacted him about a month ago and said it had matched the DNA from the sock to Kreis, a former Steamboat resident.

He said “Katie’s Law,” legislation that took effect in Colorado in September 2010, requires that everyone arrested on suspicion of felonies have DNA samples taken. Previous state legislation required DNA testing only when someone was convicted of a felony.

The new law also stipulates that the DNA be destroyed and the results expunged from the database if a person is found not guilty or if the charges are dropped.

“Katie’s Law” is named for 22-year-old Katie Sepich, who was raped and murdered in 2003 in New Mexico. It since has been passed in 23 states. Her killer was arrested three years later using DNA evidence.

Kleiber said Kreis was arrested on suspicion of felony burglary charges last year in Silverthorne, and after his DNA was tested, it was added to CODIS and matched the unsolved Lyon Drug burglary. Kleiber said he got a warrant and reached out to law enforcement in Silverthorne and Dillon to find Kreis, but he didn’t have any luck until Monday.

“To actually connect stuff that is three years old through CODIS, I don’t think we’ve had one previously,” Kleiber said. “I suspect we’ll have more and more as more people are arrested for felonies and their DNA is taken and matched with unknown samples.”

At the time of the burglary Kleiber said the few suspects police had were ruled out by DNA evidence.

Lyon Drug co-owner Wendy Lyon said she and the other owners assumed the case never would be solved.

“It was a surprise to us, but we were pleased to hear it,” Lyon said Monday. “Sometimes when it’s been two years, you don’t think it will happen … but it’s a relief it did.”

Kreis was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree burglary of a controlled substance, criminal mischief and theft valued between $500 and $1,000.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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