Cigarette Butt Left in Car Break-in Leads Investigators to Suspect
Timothy Paul Afanasiev has been charged with misdemeanor theft.
DNA from a cigarette butt left behind during a Hopkins car break-in led police to a man in jail, according to court documents released Wednesday.
The case began Oct. 29 when officers went to Meadow Creek Condos in response to a theft, Hopkins Detective Renee Meuwissen wrote in the charging documents. The vehicle owner told police someone broke into her car overnight and stole a $150 stereo, breaking the dashboard and cutting the wires.
The victim also found a Marlboro cigarette butt that did not belong to her, which investigators sent in for DNA analysis.
The results of that analysis triggered an alert when it matched a profile in the state’s DNA database for 21-year-old Timothy Paul Afanasiev, of Eagan, said Hopkins Police Sgt. Michael Glassberg.
Eagan police arrested Afanasiev in August for burglarizing more than a dozen vehicles and garages in Eagan. On Nov. 21, he was convicted of second-degree burglary, a felony, according to court records. The judge stayed the sentence and ordered him to serve 90 days on work release.
When Hopkins investigators received the alert, they didn’t initially know where Afanasiev was, Glassberg said. But on April 12, they learned he was in custody in Scott County jail.
They got a search warrant to obtain a DNA sample, and analysis received May 2 confirmed that Afanasiev’s DNA matched the DNA found on the cigarette butt from the Oct. 29 break-in.
When asked whether he stole car stereos from Hopkins vehicles, he told police that “it could be very possible,” according to the charging documents. He also acknowledged that his cigarette butt could have ended up in a car while he was taking the stereo out of it.
Afanasiev has been charged with misdemeanor theft, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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