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Valley News Dispatch

DNA links man to Leechburg robbery 2 years ago

Chuck Biedka
| Friday, July 13, 2018, 11:51 a.m.

A Leechburg man allegedly matches DNA found at the scene of a robbery two years ago.

Police say DNA from the crime scene matches a DNA sample taken in February of Matthew Donald Ward, 23, of Second Street.

He is accused of wearing a wolf mask and black gloves and walking into the Sunoco along Market Street in Leechburg at about 4 a.m. on June 8, 2016.

Ward allegedly had a black handgun wrapped inside a white towel. Although, police say, he put the revolver into a gym bag, he left the towel behind the cash register during the robbery, Leechburg acting Officer in Charge Jason Schaeffer, said.

The robber took money and cartons of menthol cigarettes, Schaeffer wrote in his affidavit.

A state police report received in January states there was no blood on the towel but there was other trace material found by the lab.

Police next got a search warrant to get a DNA swab from Ward. In March, the state police lab said Ward’s court-ordered sample matched the trace materials on the towel.

Ward was formally charged Wednesday with robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, and terroristic threats.

He was in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Leechburg District Judge James Andring.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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