A baseball cap left behind by a would-be burglar, thwarted by a homeowner who saw him on live video trying to break into his Garden City residence, led to the arrest of an Elmont man three months later, police said.
After getting an alert on his phone from his home surveillance system on Oct. 27, the homeowner first saw a car he did not recognize in the driveway, then spotted a man trying to break in by a rear first-floor window, Nassau County police said in a statement Wednesday.
The homeowner called the Garden City police at 1:38 p.m., police said. The man, seeing officers enter the backyard, leapt a fence and ran away, police said.
A 2017 Honda Accord that was parked in the homeowner's driveway had been reported stolen from Baldwin on June 24, police said.
The cap the man left behind contained enough DNA to identify him as Kenta Shelton, 41, police said.
Garden City Det. Sgt. William Grimes, explaining that he could not comment specifically on what substance was tested, said that, for example, "it could have been hair, sweat, or blood."
Neither Garden City nor Nassau police said why Shelton's DNA was already in law enforcement databases. Releasing such information might prejudice a jury, experts say. But state corrections department records show Shelton began serving a prison sentence in 2003 on robbery, weapons and stolen property charges and was paroled in August.
It appears Shelton was wanted for violating parole. Officers from the New York State Division of Parole and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force helped Nassau police arrest Shelton in Hempstead on Tuesday, police said.
DNA tests can take a month or two, as police laboratories prioritize tests based on the seriousness of the crime, Grimes said.
"We put several locations under surveillance and developed enough information to locate him," he said.
Shelton was arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony second-degree attempted burglary and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, according to online court records. He was held pending a $150,000 bail, records show. He was represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which has a policy of not commenting during the arraignment stage of a case.