Using DNA evidence found on discarded clothing, Prince William County Police have cracked a robbery case over four years old.
On Feb. 22 of this year, police received a confirmation DNA hit which identified Richard Ashley McCoy, 28, an inmate in a Pennsylvania prison, as the suspect in the Oct. 16, 2008 robbery at the Shoppers on Somerset Crossing in Gainesville. They also charged a 26-year-old Norfolk woman—a former store employee who they said was involved in the plan.
Police said that outside the store that night, McCoy approached a 20-year-old Manassas woman who worked at the store. He pulled out a handgun and forced the woman back into the store and into an office, police said.
Inside the office was Nnenna Jeanette Onunaku, a Shoppers employee who was a Manassas resident at the time. Onunaku was in the office when McCoy and the first employee entered the room. Police said that McCoy stole an undisclosed amount of money and then fled.
That night, police used a K-9 to find the suspect, and found the cast-off clothing. They collected DNA from the clothing and sent it to a lab for further analysis. Police obtained warrants for his arrest and had McCoy transferred to Washington, D.C. He was subsequently extradited to Prince William County.
During the course of the investigation, Robbery Unit detectives also found that Onunaku was an acquaintance of McCoy's and had helped plan the robbery.
On. Dec. 7, police detained Onunaku in Norfolk, and later charged her with robbery and conspiracy to commit a felony. She will be extradited to Prince William County in time for a Jan. 30 court appearance.
McCoy is charged with robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. His court date is set for May 23.