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La Crosse man sentenced in tavern burglary where DNA from chewing tobacco trail helped police

A La Crosse man will spend 7.5 years on probation for a tavern burglary with another man who left a trail of his DNA when he spit chewing tobacco.

Joel Cruz, 21, also got 21 more months in prison, for violating his extended supervision for a 2006 auto shop burglary.

Cruz and Brian Scholl, 21, were convicted in a February break-in at the Sher-Bear tavern just outside of La Crosse.

A safe with $3,000 and beer tokens was stolen, and the safe was abandoned near Carlyle, Ill.

Prosecutors said Scholl left a trail of tobacco spit from the tavern burglary. And because he's been convicted before, police had his DNA which they identified from the tobacco.

Officers then searched Scholl's car, and found a receipt Cruz was given the day after the burglary for a motel room about 30 miles from where the safe was dumped.

Cruz pleaded guilty to burglary as a repeat offender.

Scholl will be sentenced on Oct. 5.