Alleged pizza store robber identified by DNA he left on the door


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A would-be robber left the scene of a crime, but not before running into a glass door, leaving a faceprint for police to follow.

On the evening of June 25, 19-year-old Markell Deshaun Barnes entered a Pizza Hut restaurant in Las Cruces and ordered a pizza. According to a criminal complaint, once Barnes paid for his pizza, he pulled a revolver-type firearm at the clerk, Jonathan Beltran, and demanded he open the cash register.

Beltran said he didn’t know how and a fellow co-worker, Jonathan Hallsted, was called over. Once Hallsted got the register open, Barnes reached for the money inside. Hallsted slapped his hand away thinking Barnes was only in need of change.

Barnes then started to panic. According to the report, he turned and ran to an exit door. Unfortunately for Barnes, the door was locked and he slammed right into the glass, leaving a face print. He quickly ran out of another exit.

An evidence technician later collected the DNA left on the door and also collected DNA from people who work at the restaurant. The employees were quickly eliminated as suspects and Barnes was identified as the source of the DNA by a forensic biologist.

In addition to the Pizza Hut robbery, police believe Barnes is also responsible for a robbery that happened at a Giant gas station earlier that same day based on surveillance footage.

Barnes is charged with aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery.

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