A New Jersey man already facing murder charges in Berks County has been arrested in connection with a 2019 burglary in Bern Township, police reported Tuesday.
Raphael E. Perez-Rodriguez, 29, of Patterson is in Berks County Prison awaiting trial in the July 2020 death of Dennis Fink at 8 Tully Lane in the township.
Bern Township police charged him Tuesday with burglary and criminal trespass in documents filed with District Judge Brian K. Strand in Leesport.
The charges stem from the burglary of a home on South Tulpehocken Road in the Greenfields section of the township.
Perez-Rodriguez, police said, is expected to be arraigned virtually from the prison.
According to police:
In June 2019, Bern Township police investigated three burglaries on South Tulpehocken Road.
In two of them, no forensic evidence was found that would be of value to the case.
In the third house, however, the intruder apparently rummaged through the property and drank from a child’s vegetable drink container.
The intruder fled after setting off a security alarm system, leaving the drink container behind in the garage.
DNA was collected from the container, but police found no suspect matches in the national DNA database.
A subsequent entry of DNA evidence by Reading police from a burglary at Feeney Funeral Home in 2020 resulted in a match with the Bern Township evidence.
The match identified Perez-Rodriguez as a suspect in the Bern Township burglaries, police said.
“My hat is off to all the investigators involved in these related cases,” township Police Chief Wesley R. Waugh said.
Bern Township Detective Brett A. Forry, Reading police investigators and Berks County detectives all played a role in the case.
“They all have contributed immeasurably to public safety through their diligence and commitment to duty,” Waugh said.