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CSI: DUMBO

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Cue the theme music — it’s time for “CSI: DUMBO.”

Police at the 84th Precinct used a two-year-old bloody tissue to nail a repeat burglar with a preference for an office building in DUMBO.

Kenneth Hayes, 45, may spend the next 13 years in jail on multiple burglary and larceny charges thanks to the blood-stained tissue — saturated with his DNA — that he dropped when he broke into a film and video production company on Washington Street between Front and Water streets in 2004. He was arraigned on Nov. 2 on multiple counts of burglarly, larceny and criminal tresspass, according to the Brooklyn DA’s office.

“I’m really happy that they found him,” said Angela Milner, an artist who works in the building, praising the police effort. A burglary attempt at her third-floor studio this fall helped police charge Hayes with a string of break-ins in the building.

The critical evidence was collected on July 7, 2004, by Officer Ruben Ferreria, then a member of the Evidence Collection Team for the precincts in northern Brooklyn, and analyzed through the police department’s Bio-Track program, which uses DNA evidence to help solve burglaries and other property crimes.

“It’s an alternative to fingerprin­ts,” explained Lieutenant Chris Cordes, head of the Brooklyn North Evidence Collection Team, and Ferreria’s former supervisor. Ferreria has since left the department to work for a private DNA-testing lab.

Bio-Track began as a pilot program in Queens, in 2003. For years, DNA evidence has been used to solve murders, rapes and serious assaults — but not for burglaries.

“The next natural step was to apply this amazing crime-solving tool to other crimes,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown wrote in his October 2006.

Brooklyn precincts can now collect the DNA evidence and compare it against a state database.

Ferreria found the DNA link while investigating the theft of more than $15,700 in high-end computers and cameras from a film and video-production company with a suite of offices on the second floor of the DUMBO building.

When someone made a failed attempt to break into Milner’s studio sometime between Sept. 29 and Oct. 23, she didn’t think much of it. “I’m an artist. What is he going to steal?” she said. “I wasn’t even going to report it.”

Luckily, she did.

The address on her report caught the eye of Sgt. Michael Gutierrez, head of the Crime Analysis division at the 84th Precinct. He asked his team to review the pattern of crimes in the building.

Police at the 84th Precinct found the perfect suspect had just been arrested. Detectives had cuffed Hayes on Oct. 27, 2006, after he was connected to the bloody tissue from 2004.

“He probably tried to get into my studio two years ago,” she said, when told Hayes had been linked to a string of break-ins.

Back in 2004, a graphic designer on the fourth floor lost her computer — with many weeks of work on a magazine layout inside — to a burglar, Milner recalled.

In recent years, cops have logged more than a half-dozen break-ins at the restored warehouse that houses a mix of artists, Internet start-ups, importer-exporters and other small businesses.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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