Man’s DNA links him to 2010 burglary

Three years after a burglar stole a television out of a Tipton home, DNA found at the scene has identified a suspect.

Patrick W. Leeper Jr., 26, formerly of Tipton and now an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield, is accused of burglarizing a home on the 300 block of Spruce Street in Tipton, Antis Township, in September 2010 and stealing a 32-inch Vizio flat-screen television, according to state police who filed burglary and related theft charges against Leeper after blood found on the home’s screen door pointed to him.

Leeper, who is serving out the remainder of a robbery-related four- to eight-year sentence after returning to state prison last March when he was arrested after plowing his car into the Tipton post office in a failed suicide attempt, allegedly pushed in a window-mounted air conditioner unit to enter the home sometime between 8:25 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2010, before he went out the back door with the television, which police said was valued at $450.

State police collected the blood found on the back screen door, and once DNA was extracted, the results were ran through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, where Leeper was identified as someone who could not be ruled out as a suspect, police noted in the affidavit of probable cause.

Armed with that preliminary report, state police obtained a search warrant for a sample of Leeper’s blood, which was collected in May while he was in the Blair County Prison.

Police noted Leeper’s DNA was a match for the DNA found in the Tipton home.

Police said the burglary victim told police that although Leeper lived with his family in the neighborhood, there was no reason his blood should have been in the home.

Leeper denied any part of the burglary and told investigators the blood must have been from 2005, when he had been in that particular residence and had “shot up” drugs and squirted his syringe on the floor.

Leeper remains incarcerated in state prison and is due to appear for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller on Feb. 11 in Tyrone District Court.