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Stolen strawberries lead Glendale police to arrest L.A. man

Stolen strawberries lead Glendale police to arrest L.A. man
Michael Ramirez Arriaga, 23, was arrested by Glendale police on Wednesday for allegedly burglarizing an occupied residential home. Authorities say they were led to him based on DNA evidence recovered from discarded food waste. (Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department)

DNA evidence from strawberries that were stolen and eaten in Glendale helped authorities track down a suspected burglar in Los Angeles.

Michael Ramirez Arriaga, 23, was arrested at his L.A. home by the Glendale Police Department Wednesday on suspicion of burglarizing an occupied residential home.

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Sgt. Dan Suttles, a department spokesman, said officers were led to Arriaga from evidence left behind at a vehicle break-in in early May.

A catering truck parked in the 3100 block of Emerald Isle Drive was broken into by a thief who stole strawberries from the vehicle. Officers found fruit stems nearby that had been thrown away by the suspect after the strawberries were eaten.

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In addition to the stolen fruit, Suttles said security-camera footage from the area showed the thief going into a home and stealing a wallet.

Crime lab technicians were able to successfully identify DNA from the discarded food waste that was a match for Arriaga, whose information was already on file after he was arrested for possessing brass knuckles, according to Suttles.

During a search of Arriaga’s home, officers found several items they thought were stolen during the commission of several burglaries. Suttles said detectives have since linked him to two burglaries in Los Angeles and one in Glendale, where a vehicle was stolen.

Arriaga is currently being held on $100,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records.

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