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December 12, 2012
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DNA leads man to plead guilty in break-in

A Los Angeles man who was arrested for theft on the basis of DNA testing of blood found at the crime scene said he couldn't remember the March 9, 2009 break-in.

Yoni Soto Vanega, 26, told District Judge Dave Gamble through an interpreter that he didn't remember the crime, but the evidence against him might result in a conviction on a more serious crime.

Vanega pleaded guilty to one count of theft in connection with the incident at a Metcalf Builders site in Indian Hills. Evidence indicated that a fence was cut and a wheelbarrow used to take compressors, a nail gun, drill, rotohammer and tool belt away from the site.

DNA testing led detectives to Vanega who was in custody in Bakersfield in 2010.

Under a plea negotiation, Vanega pleaded guilty to theft to avoid a charge of burglary or a enhancement for being a habitual criminal.

Under the agreement, Vanega faces 12-30 months in prison, but Gamble made clear he could sentence him to a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, if the judge chose.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 29, 2013. Vanega is being held in Douglas County jail. Vanega could be deported as a result of the conviction.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 12, 2012 06:25PM Published Dec 12, 2012 06:24PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.