A DNA sample culled from a baseball cap led to a Mesa man’s arrest Tuesday in an attempted sexual assault from two years ago, Tempe police said.
Kevin G. Powers, 27, was arrested about 4 p.m. at his apartment and booked into Maricopa County’s Madison Street Jail in Phoenix on suspicion of felony attempted sexual assault, sexual abuse, misdemeanor assault and indecent exposure, said police Sgt. Dan Masters.
"It's kind of like a ‘CSI’ example here in Tempe. It shows how technology and DNA plays a major factor in investigations. We were able to get this bold sexual predator off the streets,” Masters said.
On May 19, 2002, the victim was walking to her apartment in the 500 block of West Baseline Road when a man on a bicycle rode by and told her she was beautiful.
Powers is accused of exposing himself to the woman, then 20, cornering her and grabbing her breast and buttocks before riding away, Masters said. The woman was able to give officers a description.
When officers spotted a man nearby he sped away. But his hat flew off in the chase, Masters said.
The officer picked up the cap, and it was later submitted to an Arizona Department of Public Safety laboratory. A DNA profile was created, but the data didn't match anybody in the system at the time, Masters said.
"At that time the case basically was still in limbo because we exhausted all attempts to identify or locate a suspect," he said.
Then in May 2003, the lab announced a match: The data fit Powers' profile, Masters said. Anyone convicted and incarcerated for a felony has to submit a DNA sample under state law.
Powers was imprisoned for a theft and burglary conviction and had been released in March 2002. Masters speculated delays at the lab could have accounted for the time it took to find a match.
It would take more time to locate Powers. When detectives caught up with him they had to get another DNA sample to doublecheck the match, Masters said.
Powers denied he was involved in the incident. Detectives obtained a court order to obtain another sample. Detectives located Powers again Tuesday in the 200 block of South 56th Street in Mesa, Masters said.
Besides the DNA, the victim was also able to identify Powers as her attacker in a photograph, Masters said.
Powers is being held on $90,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear 8:30 a.m. Oct. 14 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa.