NJ Troopers Tie Suspect To Bank Robbery Using DNA

The New Jersey State Police have charged Courtney Bell, 36, of Browns Mills, N.J., with robbery and theft after detectives used DNA evidence to link him to the scene of a robbery that occurred at a bank in Burlington County, according to police.

Officials said on July 23, 2019, detectives from the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office along with members of the Pemberton Borough Police Department began investigating a robbery that occurred at the TD Bank on Elizabeth Street in Pemberton Borough. The male suspect entered the bank, demanded cash, and allegedly threatened to shoot the staff if they did not comply with his demands, according to police. After the teller provided the suspect with cash, he exited the bank and fled on foot.

As a result of the investigation, detectives determined that the suspect concealed a bottle in his sweatshirt pocket to imply that he was armed with a weapon. After exiting the building, he dropped the bottle. Detectives processed the scene for evidence and obtained a DNA sample from the bottle. When the sample was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a national DNA collection database, it resulted in a positive match to Bell.

On July 27, 2020, detectives executed a search warrant for Bell’s DNA. They obtained the sample by using a buccal swab, which collects DNA from cells on the inside of a person’s cheek, while he was lodged at the Burlington County Jail for unrelated charges. The sample was submitted for forensic analysis, which confirmed Bell’s DNA sample matched the DNA obtained from the bottle at the scene.

Earlier this month Bell was charged with robbery, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and theft.

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