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Darien Police: Blood-Stained Bandage Leads To Arrest In Airbag Theft

Jose Cruz
Jose Cruz Photo Credit: Darien Police Department

DARIEN, Conn. — A Bridgeport man was charged with stealing an airbag from a vehicle in Darien — four years later — thanks to the help of DNA evidence, Darien Police said Tuesday.

Jose Cruz, 50, was charged with third-degree burglary and held on $25,000 bond by Darien Police.

On Oct. 24, 2012, the driver's side window of a 2005 Honda Pilot was smashed while it was parked in a private parking area of Thorndal Circle, police said. The airbag was removed from center of the steering wheel, police said.

Darien detectives discovered a blood-stained gauze bandage on the hood of the vehicle, next to the windshield, police said. Based on its location and condition, detectives believed the gauze bandage had fallen off the suspect as he climbed out of the vehicle to defeat the alarm system, police said.

The gauze bandage was seized as evidence and sent to the State Forensic Lab for DNA analysis, police said.

On Aug. 14, 2014, Darien Police were told  that a DNA “hit” was generated on the blood-stained bandage. The analysis of the DNA identified Cruz as a suspect, police said. It was then determined that Cruz had an extensive criminal history involving similar crimes.

Thorndal Circle is a cul-de-sac at an office complex where there would be no reason for Cruz to be on the property, police said. It does not have a public parking area, and it is not a cut-through to any other location, police said.

Darien Police had an earlier encounter with Cruz when a Toyota Rav4 was stolen from the parking lot of Hindley School on March 9, 2011, police said.

Cruz and a second subject were arrested by New York police later that same day for possession of the stolen Toyota, police said. This arrest suggested that Cruz had been in Darien on prior occasions, police said.

Based on that information, detectives applied for and were granted a warrant for Cruz’s arrest.

Last June, Darien Police were notified that Cruz had been arrested in southern New Jersey as a fugitive from justice due to the arrest warrant. After a lengthy extradition process was approved,  Darien officers took custody of Cruz on Tuesday and returned him to Connecticut, police said.

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