A DNA sample and a finger print revealed that a man already imprisoned for other offences had been responsible for a burglary 12 months earlier.
But since then Angel Groom had been imprisoned for three years - with an additional 490 days because he was on early release licence at the time.
Groom admitted burglary at Acton Grove in Wrexham when he appeared at Mold Crown Court and was jailed for three years.
But in the circumstances, Judge Roger Dutton ordered that the sentence would be served concurrently.
Groom, 32, of Bryn Hafod, Wrexham, had committed a number of burglaries in October and November, 2002.
The latest burglary - which predated the others - involved the theft of property valued at £1,575 which he sold in order to obtain heroin.