DNA, peanut butter lead to charges in coin machine break-in

  • The Walter Salvo House at 81 Conz St. in Northampton. GOOGLE MAPS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/23/2022 5:43:01 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Police used DNA from a blood drop, and the inexplicable presence of peanut butter, to charge a suspect with a 2020 theft from a laundry room coin changing machine at the Walter Salvo House.

Last week, police charged Andre Davis, 44, two years after collecting the blood sample and submitting it for testing. Northampton District Court records show the DNA match came back last month.

On Jan. 14, 2020, a resident of 81 Conz St. called police to report a man carrying a jar of peanut butter was attempting to break into a third-floor washing machine’s coin changer. The man said he needed money to get “home,” according to the witness.

When officers arrived, “the panel of the machine seemed to have been pried open with a tool, and the lock appeared broken,” according to a police report of the incident. “When Officer Staples arrived to process the scene, he noticed the extensive amount of peanut butter inside the broken part of the washing machine and on the floor in front of it.”

In a second report, an officer wrote that “it was likely that whoever had broken into the machine had peanut butter all over their hands for some reason.”

More peanut butter was found in the hallway and on the doorknob of an apartment. Police spoke to the resident, whom the report describes as “less than cooperative. … The peanut butter on her door was pointed out to her, and she shrugged, acting as though it was not unusual.”

Police continued their investigation and returned to the same apartment later. They found out that Davis was staying there as a guest and interviewed him. He allegedly said he has a peanut allergy that makes it dangerous for him to touch peanut butter.

“Davis was polite and cooperative,” according to a police report, and “I noted his hands to be clean and laceration-free.”

Based on the DNA match, Davis is charged with breaking into a depository and malicious destruction of property valued at less than $1,200. He is due to be arraigned on March 2.

Court records list Davis as homeless and in custody at the Hampshire County House of Correction.

A police description of his criminal record includes “numerous offenses related to breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, and larceny.”


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