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DNA on welfare office pen leads to indictment of Falls woman in burglary

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls woman was arraigned Monday on an indictment charging her with taking part in a burglary at the old Nabisco plant in Niagara Falls three years ago – a case to which she was connected by DNA taken from a pen at the Niagara County Social Services office in the Falls, according to Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann.

Lisa M. Barnett, 33, of 77th Street, pleaded not guilty to third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools, and County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III allowed her to remain free on a $15,000 bail bond. Her live-in boyfriend, Lance Herie, 40, pleaded guilty in the case last fall and is now in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

Hoffmann said a DNA match was made with evidence found at the scene of the June 17, 2012, break-in, where copper and other metal was stolen from the former Shredded Wheat factory on Rainbow Boulevard. Hoffmann said this was accomplished in April 2014 by giving Barnett an individually wrapped pen with special ridges when she came to the Social Services office to renew her benefits. Two detectives were on hand to grab the pen after she finished, although Hoffmann said Barnett tried to resist handing it over. The prosecutor said Herie’s DNA was recovered in the same way.