Cigarette butt leads detectives to burglar - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Cigarette butt leads detectives to burglar

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NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) -

The discovery of a "smoking gun" - or rather, "smoking butt" - helps investigators catch a burglar on the run.

Officers didn't have to look far. They say 27-year-old Melissa Miffleton admitted to breaking into a New Kent home, but only after police found a cigarette butt she'd left at the scene.

She was actually on the run for weeks, but because she had committed larceny in the past, her DNA was already in the state's system. That made connecting her to evidence found at the scene of this crime very easy.

"My mom called me and told me to hurry up and get home," said Evan Dunston. He lives on Dispatch Road with his mother. When he arrived, he couldn't believe his eyes.

"The back door was wide open. You could see the dent where they kicked in the door," he explained.

It happened in broad daylight. For weeks, the family had no clue who was responsible.

"We didn't know if they would come back. It's just not a good feeling," Dunston said.

Then, came an interesting twist.

No one who lives there smokes, so when investigators found a cigarette butt on the ground, it opened the door to key evidence in this case. They were able to match the DNA of that cigarette butt to 27-year-old Melissa Miffleton. That's when authorities say she confessed to tossing the cigarette while leaving the scene. Dunston is relieved to hear there's finally an arrest.

"It's really scary man. They come inside and see all your pictures of your family and know all your private belongings. It's just not a good feeling," he said.

In this case, authorities say, the bold bandit didn't cover her tracks. Now, she's behind bars - and the Dunston family has a little peace of mind.

"Both of us, we go out, work hard for our stuff. To have somebody come in and break into your house like this, it's real pitiful," Dunston added.

Miffleton will be sentenced next month, but this remains an open investigation. Authorities believe she may not have acted alone.

The New Kent prosecutor will recommend a diversion program to rehabilitate Miffleton, in hopes she won't re-offend.

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