SLO police use DNA to solve early 2016 robbery

April 27, 2017

Benjamin Genova

A man who allegedly tried to rob a San Luis Obispo liquor in early 2016 with a toy gun was arrested at his Grover Beach home on Wednesday after a DNA match enabled investigators to identify him.

On Jan. 9, 2016, officers responded to a robbery in progress at Laurel Lane Liquor located at 1291 Laurel Lane. Officers failed to locate a suspect but did find a face mask and a toy gun that the robber dropped while he ran out of the store, according to police.

In April 2016, investigators began working with a Department of Justice laboratory to process the items for DNA. A couple months later, investigators extracted a DNA profile from the mask and collected a comparison swab pursuant to a search warrant for Benjamin Genova, 34.

In Feb. 2017, the Department of Justice lab matched Genova’s DNA to that extracted from the mask. After receiving the DNA match, San Luis Obispo police collaborated with the SLO County District Attorneys Office, which filed burglary and attempted robbery charges against Genova.

Earlier this week, authorities obtained an arrest warrant, and on Wednesday, San Luis Obispo and Grover Beach police took Genova into custody at his home.

Officers booked Genova in San Luis Obispo County Jail with his bail set at $25,000. Genova remains in custody, as of Thursday morning.

SLOPD says Genova’s arrest should serve as a reminder that the police department continues working on cases even when an extended period of time has passed.

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You can’t beat science, Benji, especially if you are going to leave evidence behind.