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Blood trail, going back 7 years, leads to burglary charges

Three times, Montgomery County police say, John T. Dennie broke into businesses, leaving behind his own blood after smashing out a window. At one point -- in order to explain why he needed treatment at a hospital -- he said a man had hacked his arm down to the bone with a machete while he was a bus stop in Aspen Hill.

The activities took place over the lpst seven years, and have now been connected by DNA testing, police said Wednesday.

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First, the bus stop incident. At 10:46 p.m., Dec. 5, 2009, officers were called to 4100 Aspen Hill Road, for a reported assault. Dennie told them that when a man he didn’t know attacked him with a machete, police said. Dennie said he shielded himself by raising his left arm, causing the deep cut. He was taken to a hospital, according to police accounts.

Several hours later, police were called to the Eyeland Eye Care Center, 13808 Georgia Ave., Wheaton. They learned that someone had used a brick to smash out the front window, went inside and left with the cash register, police said. From the blood on the scene, it seemed clear the suspect had cut himself badly, and officers collected some of it for DNA testing.

Detectives linked the DNA found at Eyeland Eye Car to Dennie. "The investigation further revealed that the felony assault never occurred and that it was simply a ruse to cover up the emergency treatment for the wound that the suspect received during the burglary," police wrote.

On Feb. 26 detectives charged Dennie, 38, of the 3400 block of Fredale Street, Silver Spring, with second-degree burglary, theft under $1,000, and malicious destruction of property. Forensic analysts then matched his DNA to blood samples collected in 2003 after burglaries at the African Market, 312 East Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg, and the Morazan Grocery store, 32 North Summit Ave., Gaithersburg. Charges against Dennie for those two burglaries are forthcoming, police said.

He was being held on a $25,000 bond in the Montgomery County jail Wednesday afternoon, an official there said. It’s not clear if Dennie has retained an attorney. Online court records show that he has been in trouble before, including guilty findings for drug possession and carrying an open container of alcohol in public, according to court records.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  March 3, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland , Montgomery  
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