MODESTO — Police say fingerprints found at the scene of Mondays home invasion robbery in northeast Modesto led them to apprehending a suspect.
Identification Technician Erin Gonzales matched fingerprints she found at the home with a suspect Tuesday morning and within several hours officers had made an arrest.
Gonzales said its rare to identify a suspect in a violent crime through fingerprints because criminals take pains not to leave any evidence or the crime scene is not conducive for finding usable prints because its dirty. Fingerprints also can be smudged. She said this is the first time in her 18 to 19 months with the department that she has been able to match a suspect to a violent crime through fingerprints.
The fact that we did get a hit and in a short period of time is very good, especially for a violent crime like this one, said Gonzales, who is one of the Police Departments three identification technicians who photograph crime scenes and gather forensic evidence, such as blood and DNA.
Gonzales, 28, said its gratifying to play her part in helping officers capture a suspect.
The home invasion robbery took place about 11 a.m. in the 2400 block of Manor Oak Drive. A woman had arrived home after shopping and had entered the garage in her Toyota Highlander. She left the garage door open as she unloaded her groceries.
Two armed men entered the garage. Police say they ordered the woman into her home, took money from her and then forced her into a closet at gunpoint as they ransacked the house, taking more cash, a computer and a television. Police say one shot was fired during the robbery.
The men drove off in the womans dark blue Highlander.
Its very relieving for my wife to know that someone has been apprehended, said the womans husband, who asked that he and his wife not be identified.
Police spokeswoman Heather Graves said the robbery appears to be random, with no link between the suspects and the woman and her family.
The husband said his wife was in the hall closet for about 15 minutes. He said once she realized the armed robbers were gone she left the closet, locked the garage door and called for help on the home phone.
The initial shock is over, but the after trauma has set in, the husband said about how his wife is coping. But he said he and his wife are grateful for the support from family, friends and neighbors, and the work of the police.
Graves said in a news release that officers spotted the suspect about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday while he was driving in the area of Standiford and McHenry avenues. The suspect sped off as officers tried to pull him over. Graves said the suspect ran a red light and collided with another vehicle at Tully Road and Pelandale Avenue.
Officers found stolen property, including a handgun, in the suspects vehicle. The news release identifies the suspect as 22-year-old Modesto resident Steven Mines. He was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of several offenses, including home invasion robbery, conspiracy, kidnapping and violating his parole.
Officers arrested Mines passenger, 21-year-old Modesto resident Amonte Jones, on suspicion of violating his parole. Graves said Jones is not the second suspect in the home invasion robbery. The second suspect is described as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds.
Anyone with information about this home invasion robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.