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Bucks GOP Legislators Tout Expanded Criminal DNA Bill

It was the worst day of David Schwartz’s life.

Two men attacked Schwartz, 63, the sole proprietor of Comic Collection, a comic book shop on Bustleton Pike in Feasterville, on Sept. 18, 2022. They beat him, robbed him, and left him zip-tied in darkness.

The police came after neighbors called.

“The cops came, and they got me untied. They helped me get through whatever I got through. If it wasn’t for the fact the community helped me out, I might not be here today. They brutally beat me, but I’m safe, thanks to the Lower Southampton Police Department,” said Schwartz.

They took money and merchandise. One neighbor reported two men carrying large trash bags out of the store, he said.

(from left) State Reps. Kristin Marcell, Shelby Labs, Joe Hogan, and K.C. Tomlinson with Sen. Frank Farry.

“These neighbors are awesome,” said Schwartz. “They called the police because it looked suspicious.”

The police used a dog to sniff out where the robbers had hidden the bags of merchandise, apparently planning to come back and get them.

“I got most of my merchandise back,” he said.  “They took the watch off my wrist. It was my father’s gift. He’s no longer with us.”

At a press conference Thursday, Police Chief Ted Krimmel said his department, with the help of a K-9  and an officer from Upper Southampton, eventually tracked down DNA evidence which led to the arrest of two Michigan truck drivers. One of them came into the shop to case it before the robbery, said Schwartz.

He said detectives, in cooperation with Michigan police, linked the two suspects to the robbery. Caleb Simpson and Zackery Tucker are in custody at the Bucks County Corrections Center.

First Assistant District Attorney Ed Louka, who is prosecuting the case, said DNA was the key.

“There’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned police work…but the DNA evidence was crucial here,” said Louka. “It was not only crucial in linking Caleb Simpson and Zackery Tucker, but Lower Southampton got a tip that two other people who actually resembled the actors might be involved. It was DNA evidence that that was able to rule them out.”

State Sen. Frank Farry (R-Bucks) said he and state Reps. K.C. Tomlinson (R-Bensalem) and Joe Hogan (R-Feasterville) have introduced bills to require DNA samples to be taken after arrests for violent felonies. He noted that now DNA is only taken after convictions.

“This has been found legal through a Supreme Court case,” said Farry. “Eighteen or 19 other states already have this as law.”

“Quite frankly, you heard how important DNA evidence is,” said Farry.

Tomlinson said she’s been focusing on crime since being elected four years ago and has introduced several anti-crime bills, including on porch pirates and retail theft, that have been signed into law. Others remain pending, including a bill to prevent catalytic converter thefts and an anti-looting package. With Hogan, she’s also introduced an anti-street racing bill.

“These bills are necessary, needed, and commonsense,” said Tomlinson. ‘We continuously hear from our constituents about rising crime in our area. Luckily, our sheriff and local law enforcement are the best of the best…This is not the Bucks County I grew up in. I grew up in my district, and crime was nothing like it is today.”

Hogan said, “We heard earlier today that DNA makes a difference.” The new bill requires DNA to be taken after arrest for violent crimes, he added.

In response to a question from DVJournal, he said these crimes are “murder and violent felonies and certain sexual assault misdemeanors.”

“There is also a gap in the post-conviction (DNA) statute because it doesn’t include murder,” said Farry. The bill would close that loophole.

Both California and Texas already do that, said Hogan. The bill is bipartisan and the legislators also have the support of Bucks County law enforcement.

State Reps. Kristin Marcell (R-Richboro) and Shelby Labs (R-Doylestown) are cosponsors and were on hand for the press conference.

Sheriff Fred Harran said the legislators saw “a problem and stepped up.”

They’re ensuring “law enforcement has the tools they need daily.”

“This is going to be a game-changer for law enforcement,” said Harran about the DNA legislation. “It’s scientific. It’s 110 percent foolproof.”

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