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Cold Case: DNA Links Suspect to Jewelry Castle Heist

Blood taken from the crime scene on Dec. 16, 2009, at Schllber's Jewelry Castle in Murrieta came back with a DNA match for an already-incarcerated alleged gang member.

One of two suspects in a previously unsolved Murrieta jewelry store heist is set to be arraigned Tuesday due to a positive DNA match, authorities said.

Though police said it was difficult for witnesses to describe the masked, heavily clothed suspects in the Dec. 16, 2009, armed robbery of , blood was recovered from the crime scene.

"When the crime occurred in 2009, the suspects were masked...and one began smashing the glass cabinets and cut himself," said Murrieta police Sgt. Phil Gomez. "So now he is bleeding in the store, and he makes his way over to a woman and a child and demands her purse."

Gomez said the suspect may have allegedly grabbed the purse so he could take the cellphone and she would be unable to call 911.

"Well that cellphone is found a block away in the middle of the street...we found blood on the cellphone and on the glass," the sergeant said.

Nearly two years later, Murrieta police said they received word from the Department of Justice there had been a match.

"Sometimes it can take years," Gomez said. "This was considered a cold case."

Armed with the news of a potential match, police in May were granted a warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Devon Samuel Singleton, 33. Singleton, they learned, is incarcerated at Salinas Valley California State Prison in Soledad for a 2010 burglary in Los Angeles County.

Singleton had changed his name from Perkins, wrote Detective Spencer Parker, but his criminal identification numbers matched.

While another suspect remains outstanding, Singleton is set to be arraigned Tuesday for alleged armed robbery in the Jewelry Castle case, Riverside County District Attorney's Office Spokesperson John Hall confirmed.

"He has been charged in this," Hall said.

Singleton is also charged with participation in a criminal street gang and committing a serious felony with prior convictions—including armed robbery in 1997.

Hall was not sure whether Singleton had yet been transported to Riverside County for the 1:30 p.m. arraignment in Riverside.

An estimated $52,000 worth of jewelry was taken during the alleged robbery.

Don Lambert August 18, 2012 at 02:09 PM
DNA is so very remarkable, it can even be recovered from dried sweat left on objects handled. It is a lot harder for persons to get away with crimes since it is commonly used now, and as the DNA register grows.. Several years ago I took a walk through the Jewery Castle. It was a relief to see a different looking building. There was some kind of mindset in Murrieta that everything should look alike. Inside there was a lot of expensive jewelry on display in thick glass cases, so I just took a tour looking at it. No clerks pushed me to buy anything nor followed me around. There were many, many security video cameras all over the place and in front. This was a relief. I contrasted that visit to a small jewery shop I visited in Federal Way Washington. There was an ad in the paper as a discount jewelery store in a large strip mall. The door was locked; there was a doorbell button on the door frame. A man came and let us in. I said we saw their ad and wanted to look around. He had a handgun holster and gun across his chest. We looked at the few display cases. Most jewels were $8,000 or more, nothing was low priced, but may have been a value. Another customer or so came in and another man with a handgun on his chest came out of the back room and waited on him. Another customer came in and another clerk with a handgun on his chest came out of the back room. I did feel somewhat uncomfortable there. The Jewelry Castle is much more pleasant place to visit.


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