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DNA database key in solving state crimes

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Sgt. Pat DeWall, a spokesman for the Appleton Police Department, couldn’t comment on evidence specific to the 1989 rape.

He said it’s typical to keep evidence for years or decades even if it doesn’t show immediate promise.

“We don’t know what’s going to be relevant 10 years from now,” DeWall said.

The state began collecting DNA profiles of convicted sex offenders in 1993. By the end of 2000, the database included just over 7,000 known — and unknown — profiles. By the end of 2006, the state had more than 96,000 profiles in its database.

Zareczny provided his DNA sample this year after being convicted of fraud against a financial institution. It was his first Wisconsin felony conviction, court records show. Zareczny was charged in September 2010 with felonies including fraud after using a false name and stolen Social Security number to obtain lines of credit.

He was charged in a separate case after presenting false marriage documents to his employer to obtain more than $13,000 in health benefits for his ex-wife, a criminal complaint says. He was sentenced in June.

Prior to the 2011 arrest, police had little reason to be suspicious of Zareczny.

He worked for Wisconsin Electric in 1989, according to the civil complaint filed in the victim’s lawsuit. He served as an Appleton firefighter from 1993 to 2009, the complaint states.

It took a financial crime on the lower end of the felony scale for police to identify Zareczny as a suspect in the violent offenses dating back to 1989.

The 2000 law requires DNA collection for felonies along with certain sex-related misdemeanors and juvenile sexual assaults. And the database is constantly growing.

As of September, Wisconsin’s DNA database contained about 149,000 offender profiles. It also included 9,500 unknown profiles collected from crime scene evidence that hasn’t been linked to an offender.

Matches found through use of Wisconsin’s database have aided more than 3,200 cases since its inception, the FBI said.

The National DNA Index contains more than 10 million offender profiles and more than 395,000 unknown profiles developed from evidence.

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