DNA on popsicle sticks links to burglary suspect
A convicted felon has been connected to a Mukilteo burglary after police found his DNA on popsicle sticks.
Joseph T. Medoro, 32, apparently likes to snack on popsicles while he’s allegedly burglarizing homes.
His DNA was found on popsicle sticks that were part of the mess left after burglars broke into a Mukilteo home in July 2012, according to Snohomish County Superior Court papers.
The popsicles were stolen out of a downstairs freezer and seemingly eaten while burglars were ransacking the house.
“At the time, the homeowners found some popsicle sticks that they did not eat in their house,” said Officer Colt Davis. “An officer bagged them up to be tested for DNA, and they got a hit on one of the suspects in the case.”
Deputy prosecutor Walt Sowa on Sept. 13 charged Medoro with residential burglary.
The Kirkland man is already in prison, serving an eight-year sentence for trying to run over a Bothell police officer during a traffic stop on July 17, 2012. The officer managed to jump to safety and fire a shot, but missed Medoro.
Medoro led police on a car chase around south Snohomish County before he abandoned his vehicle and was tracked down in Mill Creek.
The Mukilteo burglary had occurred July 7, just 10 days before Medoro's arrest.
If convicted on the new charge, Medoro is looking at an additional five to seven years in prison. It would be his 17th felony; he earned his first felony conviction at 15.
Most of Medoro’s other felonies involve drugs and stolen property, though he’s also had three convictions for attempting to elude police.
On July 7, 2012, Mukilteo police were called to the 9800 block of 55th Place West on a report of a residential burglary.
The homeowners were on vacation when the break-in occurred. A neighbor had called 911 after he saw a gate to their backyard open and a mess through the windows.
The burglars had not only trashed the house, they took a car, jewelry, various electronics, tools, financial records and a collection of miniature clocks from all over the country.
“They went through absolutely everything you could imagine, and took anything of decent value,” owner Ray McCann said. “They were very thorough. They were probably here for a couple of hours.”
As Ray and Laura McCann were cleaning up after the burglary, they noticed a couple of popsicle sticks from treats they didn’t eat – potential evidence. They bagged up the sticks and wrappers and turned them over to police.
“We found the popsicle sticks and thought, ‘Those idiots actually had the audacity to steal popsicles from our refrigerator while they were [burglarizing] us,'” McCann said. “They were so relaxed that they thought they’d take a little break.”
Officer Joe Hamilton booked the sticks into evidence. Once dry, they were sent to the state crime lab to test for DNA. Cigarette butts were also sent for testing.
On July 9, Mukilteo Detective John Ernst learned that the couple's stolen 1999 Acura had been found parked at a Mountlake Terrace motel.
Mountlake Terrace police arrested Karrie A. Coates, 30, at the motel after she reportedly tried to run from officers who approached her about the stolen car. She was Medoro’s girlfriend at the time, court papers said.
Coates reportedly had been released from the King County Jail on July 7.
“Through some search warrants of one of the motel rooms, they found some of the victims’ property in the room,” Davis said. “That led them to the other suspects in the case.” Officers found property from other burglaries as well, he said.
In addition to the McCanns’ car, a warrant recovered their TV, jewelry, documents from their safety deposit box – and one of their miniature clocks. Most of their stuff, however, hasn’t been found.
“The things from the people you loved are the things you miss the most,” McCann said. “They can’t be replaced.”
In the car police found a note that reportedly had been written by Coates to Medoro, complaining about his having not left her a shaved key to start it up, court papers said.
Inside the stolen car was a plastic storage container with a baggie of what appeared to be meth in it. The container was identical to those Laura McCann used for her craft supplies, court papers said.
Nearly a year later, the DNA found on a popsicle stick was declared to be a match to Medoro, according to a lab report.
Additional DNA from two unidentified suspects was also found on another stick and cigarette butts left at the Mukilteo home. The search for those matches continues.
Coates was also charged on Sept. 13 with possession of a stolen vehicle and second-degree identity theft.
She also was charged with an April 2012 auto theft. Her DNA was reportedly found on cigarette butts inside the vehicle when it was recovered two months after it was stolen.
McCann said he and his wife feel a “satisfaction” that they had helped police in their burglary case.
“It felt good, like we did something right,” he said. “They thought they got away with something, and they did, but now it’s going to cost them.”