Coke bottle helps Wentzville police solve statewide burglary spree

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WENTZVILLE, Mo. - A bottle of Coke helps police in Missouri stop a statewide burglary spree.

The crime scene at Los Portales Mexican restaurant in Wentzville had been repeated in cities and towns hundreds of miles apart in Missouri, police said. The burglar would cut his way into the businesses through outdoor building panels and then steal their money.

Current court records show the break-ins stretched February to July; Wentzville to Jefferson City, Moberly, and beyond.

The owner of Los Portales shared video with KTVI showing the hole cut in the exterior wall from an April break-in and the aftermath inside.

The suspect, 25-year-old Dakota Blackburn, allegedly crawled through the ceiling, dropped into the office, and ransacked it, looking for money. He also took a bottle of Coke from the cooler, drank some, but left the bottle and items of clothing behind, police said.

“We seized the clothing the bottle of Coke and submitted it for DNA analysis which came back positive,” said Wentzville Police Chief, Kurt Frisz. “He’s been busy across the state of Missouri. We started seeing ‘like’ activity across the state. We contacted those agencies. We were able to put it all together. Of course, the DNA hit put a nice little bow on top of it.”

Blackburn was charged in St. Charles County with 13 felony counts for similar crimes in four counties, including multiple break-ins in Jefferson City, Moberly, and Brookfield. He’s a suspect in 22 burglary and 16 property damage cases statewide, allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars in total.

“He’s stopped cold. He’s charged. He’s in custody right now. I don’t think he’s going to be getting out any time soon,” Frisz said.

Blackburn is currently in jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond with more charges expected soon.

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