Thu, Apr 22, 2010 - Page 15 News List

Caught short: Police follow DNA trail to catch burglar 行竊留屎 DNA讓大盜栽了


When a thief leaves the scene of his crime, he must make sure he hasn’t left anything behind, not even his own feces. Recently, a man broke into a factory in Shulin City, Taipei County, and stole drill bits valued at more than NT$400,000. However, in the middle of his operation, he was caught short and relieved himself in the factory, conveniently leaving a pile of excrement from which the police extracted his DNA and apprehended the maladroit criminal. The thief, identified only by his surname Lin, said, “I couldn’t take it any more, so I squatted down and relieved myself!”

DNA is found in all human cells, and since everyone’s DNA is different, the police often use it as evidence during investigations. Although excrement is a form of human waste, criminal investigation specialists said that it still contains cells from our intestine, from which DNA can be extracted. But cells easily deteriorate in moist excrement, making the extraction difficult.

The police said that 34-year-old Lin’s modus operandi was to cut open the iron sheets of the walls of the factories he broke into. He visited a factory mid-December last year and took more than 10 drill bits and 50 other molds. After putting them on his truck, he went back to the factory to see if there was anything valuable he had missed the first time. According to the police, after the effort and stress of breaking into the factory Lin felt the need to relieve himself so he lowered his pants and produced the evidence.

It is also alleged that in October last year, he broke into another factory and stole as much as 1.5 tons of steel material. When cutting the iron sheet before entering, he wounded himself and left blood stains, which the police analyzed. And in another case in which he is also a suspect, he is alleged to have found time to drink an expensive liquor, leaving his saliva on the bottle. That also became evidence for the police.

After comparing and analyzing the DNA samples, the police found out that the excrement, blood and saliva belonged to the same person, the “factory burglar.” Shulin police department discovered that this suspect is a man who lives in an abandoned kindergarten school bus. With the help of other police stations, they succeeded in capturing him. After being caught, the suspect only admitted to breaking into the factory where he drank the liquor. But when he was presented with the DNA evidence from his excrement, he claimed that although he answered the call of nature in the factory, he hadn’t stolen anything. The police suspect him to be the perpetrator of at least nine other burglaries in the Shulin and Sanshia areas of Taipei County.







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