CHEYENNE – The Cheyenne Police Department believes it has linked a local man to at least six recent burglaries using DNA evidence found on a coffee cup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich left at different scenes.
According to CPD, 26-year-old Zachary Munoz was arrested and booked into the Laramie County jail on Nov. 21 on warrants for burglary in connection to break-ins at 4 Rivers Equipment in east Cheyenne.
Someone on three separate occasions in September stole power tools and equipment from the location, and police say Munoz was linked to those burglaries by a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich left at the scene.
The evidence earned him the moniker “PB&J burglar” within the department.
Testing done at the Wyoming State Crime Lab confirmed Munoz’s DNA was on the sandwich.
CPD spokesman Officer Kevin Malatesta said the burglaries happened Sept. 2, 10 and 15, and that the sandwich was found during the investigation of the first one.
Police also determined Munoz allegedly pawned several chainsaws taken during the burglaries, Malatesta said.
Police say a discarded coffee cup linked Munoz to three burglaries that happened at the JC Penney store at Frontier Mall earlier this year.
Malatesta said the store was broken into Sept. 17 and 24 and Oct. 1, and jewelry was stolen each time. He said detectives recovered several pieces of jewelry belonging to the store that Munoz is suspected of pawning as well.
Police sent the coffee cup to the State Crime Lab for DNA analysis, and the lab recently determined that there is DNA evidence linking Munoz to those burglaries.
Munoz also was arrested Oct. 4 after police officers reportedly saw him behind Sportsman’s Warehouse with burglary tools in his possession, Malatesta said.
CPD continues to actively investigate the cases.
Court records indicate that Munoz has three active felony cases and two active misdemeanor files.
Charging documents filed in the PB&J case accuse Munoz of three counts of burglary.
He pleaded not guilty earlier this month, and a trial currently is set for February.
Those documents say Munoz stole almost $7,500 in tools in the three incidents at 4 Rivers Equipment.
The Sept. 15 burglary reportedly involved the theft of seven power tools – four concrete saws and three chainsaws worth almost $4,500.
After the Sept. 10 burglary, the store manager received an anonymous tip that Munoz offered to sell the caller new chainsaws for half price, charging documents say.
During the investigation, police learned from the manager of the nearby Pilot Travel Center that three pry bars used in the burglaries and left at the scene were stolen from the Pilot truck stop.
The State Crime Lab notified police Oct. 21 that there was no match for the DNA on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the state database.
On Nov. 5, though, the detective found out that the DNA matched DNA in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s database, and it was that of Munoz.
Another felony case set for trial in February charges Munoz with burglary tool possession and attempted burglary in connection with his October arrest by Sportsman’s Warehouse.
A third felony case filed against Munoz last week has not yet made its way to Laramie County District Court.
Munoz also currently is facing separately filed misdemeanor charges of criminal entry and interference with a peace officer, court records show.
Source: Wyoming News