DNA Left at Crime Scenes Leads to Suspects in Two Separate Burglaries

Publish Date: March 21, 2018
Written by: Sheriff's Office
Categories: Arrest | News

Birmingham, AL 03/21/2018

Gabriel Powell

Ronald Steen

A 51-year-old man and a 19-year-old man have been charged with separate burglaries after leaving DNA at crime scenes.

The first case began on January 3, 2017, when deputies responded to a report of a burglary at a residence in the 1600 block of 5th Place NW in Center Point. It was reported that someone had entered the home through as window and stolen electronics. The victim told deputies that the suspect had removed a popsicle from the freezer and eaten it. The stick was discarded on the bedroom floor. The popsicle stick was collected and submitted to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for analysis. DNA was collected from the stick and submitted to the Combined DNA Index System.

On October 20, 2017 detectives were notified that the DNA matched that of 19-year-old Gabriel Nathaniel Powell of Birmingham. Detectives spoke to the victim and confirmed that Powell was not known and was never admitted to their home.

On March 20, 2018 the case was reviewed by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and arrest warrants were issued charging Gabriel Nathaniel Powell with Burglary 3rd Degree and Theft of Property 3rd Degree. He remains at large. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 205-325-1450 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

The second case began on the morning of May, 25th 2017, when deputies responded to a report of a burglary at a vacant business warehouse in the 4600 block of Pinson Valley Parkway. It was reported that someone had forced entry into the warehouse and stolen electrical panels, copper wiring, and copper tubing. Video surveillance from a neighboring business captured images of the suspect’s vehicle driving into the warehouse to load the stolen property.

While surveying the scene for possible evidence the responding deputy discovered an empty beer can and saw blades next to a damaged electrical panel. The beer can was collected and submitted to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for analysis. DNA was collected from the can and submitted to the Combined DNA Index System.

On March 16, 2018, detectives were notified that the DNA matched that of an Alabama Probationer, Ronald Lavander Steen. They confirmed with the business owner that Steen had never been an employee. Detectives also learned that Steen had sold a large amount of copper to an area scrap yard.

Detectives presented the case the to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for review. Arrest warrants were issued charging 51-year-old Ronald Lavander Steen of Birmingham with Burglary 3rd Degree and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree.

He was arrested yesterday afternoon and remains in the Jefferson County Jail with bond set at $13,500.

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