, Salem, MA

Local News

August 16, 2013

DNA links suspect to 2007 break-in at café

TOPSFIELD — Using DNA from blood left on a broken window, police have solved a 2007 break-in at Daybreak Cafe, they say — just in the nick of time, before the six-year statute of limitations expired.

“We were a little concerned it was not going to get back in time,” Detective Sgt. Gary Hayward said yesterday about evidence sent to the state for analysis, “but the state did the job and got it back in time.”

It took close to six years for the state police crime lab to analyze the evidence, but the department kept tabs on the case.

“We kept on following through with it so it would get analyzed, and it finally did,” Hayward said.

On Aug. 8, Ipswich District Court issued a warrant for Phillip S. Ferlito, 48, of Medford, who was charged with felony breaking and entering in the nighttime and malicious destruction of property worth more than $250. Ferlito turned himself in at Ipswich District Court and was released on bail for appearance at a future court date.

The restaurant, tucked into the Topsfield Village Shopping Centre on Main Street, was burglarized on Sept. 9, 2007. Police were able to collect blood left behind on a broken window and sent it to the state police lab for processing, Hayward said.

“I was happy when they told me,” said Daybreak Cafe owner Billy Qirici.

Qirici said the burglar threw a rock through the window and also damaged a double-door refrigerator and cash registers. The time of the break was strange in that it happened at 6:10 p.m. when it was still light out, Qirici said. The restaurant closes at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. He said he was glad the match was made before the statute of limitations ran out.

“I feel good they got the guy,” he said.

Hayward said the department makes every attempt to follow up on crimes.

“It’s not a big crime, but it’s a big crime to the victims,” Hayward said.

Patrolmen Shawn Frost and Glenn Walker, who has since retired and works as a reserve officer, investigated the case.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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