BERKELEY, Mo. – Berkeley police have linked a series of violent crimes across our region to five young teens.

FOX 2 found court records indicating police used DNA, video evidence, the scientific analysis of shell casings to identify their juvenile suspects.

The investigation began in the early morning hours of Nov. 22, 2022, on Evergreen Boulevard. Police said teen suspects shot a man in the face around 3 a.m. after he looked outside his home to see what set off his car alarm.

People on the block awoke to find their neighbor had been taken to the hospital while police collected evidence. Court records indicate a bottle of Sprite, two shell casings, and a neighbor’s surveillance camera led Berkeley police to five teens they believe are responsible for a string of crimes.

Berkeley Police Chief Art Jackson said he’s proud of the officer who connected the dots.

“He did go above and beyond what he was tasked to do,” Jackson said. “Actually, he’s not even a detective at this point. He’s a patrolman. He took an interest in doing this and he saw it all the way through.”

DNA on the soda bottle reportedly led police to a 15-year-old suspect.

“Juvenile crime is on the rise, and that’s something we all have to sit down and work on,” Chief Jackson said. “It seems like they don’t care. They don’t care about getting caught. Even when we catch them, they’re laughing. They’re laughing at us it’s like it’s making a mockery of the system, and I think that’s a shame.”

Court records indicate Berkeley police also connected the same five suspects to another violent crime from 9 p.m. on that same November day at a Ferguson parking lot. Police seized video showing the suspects inside Walmart, who then walked out across the parking lot where mobile surveillance cameras reportedly captured the teens carjack a woman in front of a Wingstop. The same 15-year-old suspect, now in police custody, can reportedly be see pointing a gun at the victim’s stomach and face before stealing their car.

Investigators said ballistic tests on a shell casing in the Berkeley Evergreen Boulevard shooting matched the casings from a Nov. 27, 2022, shooting in south St. Louis. Two people were reportedly shot at while driving on South Grand near Gravois. Berkeley worked with St. Louis authorities to share ballistic information and gather video that reportedly identified the same suspects.

“The information sharing that was done among all the communities throughout St. Louis County and St. Louis City is amazing,” Chief Jackson said. “We still just have one objective: apprehend the bad guy and (get a) successful prosecution.”

The investigation continues, with at least one of the young suspects in custody as of Saturday. Court records indicate he just turned 16 on Valentine’s Day. Police report finding two stolen cars connected to the ring, stored behind a vacant house on Compton near South Florissant Road in Ferguson.