Leaving his fingerprints behind at the scene of the crime will cost a burglar two years in prison.
The defendant, Christopher Bratcher, entered a no-contest plea before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to charges of vandalism and burglary and was directed to serve two years in the state penitentiary. He will also have to make $210 restitution to the victim.
Bratcher’s prison time comes for his break-in of Viola Market in late 2010. On the night in question, he broke through a glass window at the store and stole several items including cigarettes.
“I saw a trail of cigarette packs which he had dropped on the ground on his way out the door,” said sheriff’s investigation Kevin Murphy, noting he retrieved some of the packs, pulled a fingerprint off it, and sent it for analysis at the state crime lab. “After waiting for a few months, the prints came back belonging to Mr. Bratcher.”
Murphy said Bratcher not only denied being the burglar, but further maintained he had never been to the store. The investigator said the denial made it impossible for him to explain how his print was on one of the dropped cigarette packs.
While Bratcher entered a no-contest plea, it will go down as a plea of guilty on his record. The conviction led to a violation of his probation for his prior convictions on charges of theft and vandalism. However, that time will be served concurrently, or at the same time, as his prison term for the Viola Market break-in.