Suspected New Mexico Armed Robber Faceplants Pizza Hut Door During Escape, Gets Arrested Thanks to DNA Evidence

A man accused of committing two armed robberies in the same day has been arrested after he left behind DNA evidence at one of the crime scenes after face-planting into a door during his escape.

Markell Deshaun Barnes, 19, has been charged with third-degree felony count of attempted armed robbery and one fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following an incident at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on June 25.

Police had suspected that the suspect who robbed the restaurant at around 10:30 p.m. may have also committed a similar armed robbery at a Giant gas station at around 12:15 a.m. the same day.

Surveillance footage from inside the Pizza Hut showed that the suspect attempted to run out a door that had already been locked for the night. The man then hits his face on the door before turning around and running out of another exit.

As part of the investigation, police swabbed the door for possible DNA evidence. The evidence collected was then sent to the New Mexico forensic laboratory in Santa Fe for testing. The unknown DNA profile was entered into the Combined DNA Index System [CODIS], where it matched a known sample from Barnes.

Las Cruces police investigators obtained a warrant for Barnes' arrest. The 19-year-old was then detained in Albuquerque and transferred to the Dona Ana County Detention Center. He is currently being held without bond.

Police have also released the surveillance footage showing the suspect running into the locked restaurant door.

Additional charges are expected to be filed against Barnes for the Giant gas station robbery.

Las Cruces police have been contacted for further comment.

Elsewhere, Las Cruces Police arrested another man on suspicion of setting a fire on the roof of a separate pizza place.

Gilbert Florez, 45, of the 100 block of Topaz Place, is charged with one count of arson after allegedly causing a fire on the roof of a Papa John's at 1701 S. Solano Drive on the evening of December 18.

The flames were spotted by a Las Cruces police officer, who then saw Florez on the roof. The suspect eventually came down after being ordered to do so by the officer and was arrested.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire and there was no significant damage to the building and no injuries.

Investigators determined the fire was set intentionally and the Papa John's heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system was damaged deliberately.

Markell Deshaun Barnes
Markell Deshaun Barnes has been charged with one third-degree felony count of attempted armed robbery and one fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly robbing a New Mexico Pizza Hut.Las Cruces Police Department