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Prolific thief caught by apple juice
Carl Fults.jpg
Carl Fults

A burglar who reportedly quenched his thirst at the scene of the crime has been caught by DNA evidence three years later. 

McMinnville Police Department alleges that Carl Shawn Fults Jr., 26, was the man who burglarized and vandalized East End Drive Church of Christ on March 14, 2019. 

“Marty Cantrell was the detective over the case at the time,” said McMinnville Police detective Austin Wortman. “He worked the scene and located a container of Great Value apple juice that had clearly been partially consumed by someone. Everyone who worked at the church denied that it was theirs. Cantrell had the opening of the container swabbed hoping for a DNA profile. DNA was present and submitted to CODIS.”

CODIS is the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. It is a national database comprised of several indexes including DNA profiles of convicted offenders, profiles developed from evidence in unsolved crimes, and profiles developed for the identification of missing persons.

“He didn’t get a hit,” said Wortman, which means the database had no DNA profile that matched the one submitted. “We finally got a hit. The DNA profile was that of Carl Fults Jr. His DNA was submitted to CODIS when he was granted parole.”

Fults currently lives in Knoxville. Around the time of the East End Drive Church of Christ burglary and vandalism, he was charged with several similar crimes in Warren County.

Back in January and February of 2019, Fults was charged with breaking into 10 different storage units at AKB Storage and K&K Self Storage. He reportedly stole electronic game systems and games worth over $1,000, a computer bag and computer components with a value less than $1,000, and two 12-inch speakers worth less than $1,000.

Fults was arrested at the end of February and charged with two counts of burglary at Rock Island Post Office. McMinnville police recovered packages stolen from the post office after Fults was caught breaking into the Habitat Restore on Red Road and taking tools.

In March, Fults broke into a vehicle parked outside a home in McMinnville and took items from a purse, including a debit card. 

Four days before the vehicle burglary, Fults was charged with stealing $5,995 in cellphones from Walmart, and the damage to the display case was approximately $700. Fults was banned from the store in December 2018.  

As explained by Police Chief Nichole Mosely, who was a captain at that time, Fults’ reign of terror included a cycle of charges and making bond. 

“He gets charged, makes bond and gets charged again,” Mosley said in 2019. “Sometimes he gets out of jail and the next day he’s back at it again.”

Fults’ bond was eventually set at $656,500, which he did not make. 

In November 2019, Fults was given 364 days of a nine-year sentence with the balance to be served on probation.

“I met with Mr. Fults at the state probation office in Maryville,” said Wortman. “He admitted to the burglary of the church and advised that he was high at the time of the incident. I obtained a DNA standard swab from him to submit to the TBI crime lab for comparison.”

While charges have been levied against Fults for the March 2019 crime, he has yet to be arrested.