Police: Blood in ceiling points to robbery suspect

NORCROSS -- DNA evidence left in the ceiling of a Norcross check-cashing business has led police to a suspect nearly four years after a botched robbery.

A warrant issued Wednesday charges Marcus Hardy, 30, with criminal attempt to commit armed robbery at Atlanta Check Cashers, 505 Beaver Ruin Road.

Hardy and another unidentified man allegedly tried to rob the business on the afternoon of July 21, 2006.

According to the warrant, Hardy tried to climb over a glass barrier between employees and customers while his accomplice brandished a gun. That plan backfired when Hardy became ensnared in wire mesh that held the suspended ceiling, and both men darted away, the document says.

Crime scene techs later found blood on the wires. A DNA analysis proved the blood was Hardy's, the warrant says.

A detective working the case was off-duty Friday and could not be reached for comment. Jail records indicate Hardy, described as a 6 feet, 1 inch tall black man weighing 180 pounds, remains at large.

DNA testing, while time-consuming, can be invaluable in solving cases with minimal evidence left behind, Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said on a tour of their Decatur headquarters last week.

More than 1,700 cases have been solved in Georgia using a FBI computer software program that links suspects to evidence left at other crime scenes, or DNA samples gathered in earlier arrests.

Legislation was recently introduced to mandate the collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested on felony charges. As is, DNA samples are collected only from criminals convicted of certain felonies as they are admitted to prison.

A vote on the DNA legislation is pending.

GBI officials worry the already cash-strapped agency couldn't handle the extra DNA workload with existing scientists and equipment.