Thief caught with his own evidence

DNA profiling has been used by police to convict a jail inmate of three unsolved break and enters committed in Coffs Harbour some years ago.

Crown prosecutors have proven in court that Grant Matthew Dodds, 25, left blood at the scene of three separate break-ins committed at Sawtell between 2003 and 2006.

The blood samples uncovered by forensic police were kept archived with the Division of Analytical Laboratories.

Only after Dodds was arrested for a serious assault last year were investigators able to link him to the crimes.

Pleading guilty to the break and enters, Dodds had three additional prison terms of six months added onto the jail sentence he is currently serving at the Grafton Correctional Centre.

The forensic evidence placed him at the scene of a break-in at the Sawtell Tennis Club in August 2003, another at the Sawtell Uniting Church in May 2005 and the third at Sawtell’s Meals on Wheels in March 2006.

After cutting two padlocks to the side door of the Lyons Road tennis club, Dodds smashed a hole in the glass sliding door of the pro shop, stealing tennis racquets and large amounts of soft drink and confectionary.

Police investigating the break-in uncovered a bloody towel in the store.

Then two years later, Dodds broke into the Uniting Church leaving traces of blood around a smashed window as he entered stealing confectionary and coins.

A year later he was at it again, smashing the service window of the Meals on Wheels also in Elizabeth Street.

Once inside he used a crow bar to try and prise a metal safe free from the floor. In the process of doing so, it’s believed police disturbed him.

As officers approached they heard someone flee through the back door of the building and into a rear alley way.

The crow bar was left at the scene along with another sample of blood at the entry point.

Another link between the robberies was that Dodds turned off the power to the buildings before forcing his way in on all three occasions.

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