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Bank Robber Caught After Leaving Urine Bottles Behind

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the are-you-sure-you-remembered-everything? dept.

Crime 8

A couple of Swedish bank robbers had the perfect plan: sneak inside a bank vault on Friday, spend all weekend emptying safe deposit boxes, escape when the bank opens again on Monday. They would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling pee bottles they left behind. From the article: "They managed to surprise bank staff and escape when the vault was reopened. But prosecutor Frederik Larsen said they forgot to take the urine with them 'so we were able to get their DNA samples from the bottles.' The evidence helped prosecutors win a 21-month prison sentence for the Swede. His accomplice is still at large and the loot hasn't been recovered."

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Wait... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445772)

You can get DNA samples from urine? More bad news for R. Kelly!

Re:Wait... (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447058)

urine contains a substantial number of dead red blood cells, swept from the bloodstream by the kidneys. since adult blood cells discard their nucleus to create more room to carry oxygen and nutrients, they don't live too long without a nucleus, so the body goes through quite a few of them every day.

Re:Wait... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35473060)

And without a nucleus, the red blood cell doesn't have any DNA either.

I imagine it was cells shed from the bladder wall that gave them DNA.

Eating and pooping? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447118)

No eating and pooping for that weekend? Did they fast?

21 months? (2)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450928)

It just might be worth it.

So many sentences people are receiving in crimes like these make it so that committing the crime might be worth it.

An ex-boss of mine told me many moons ago of a colleague from university he knew who planned, and successfully executed a pyramid scheme of some sort. Netted himself just south of $2M in about 4 months. Stashed the cash away in an off-shore account, got caught, went to jail at a low-security country-club style prison for 2 years less a day, got out, moved to some exotic country where $2M is easily enough to live off of for your life as a king, and did just that.

Re:21 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463148)

In this part of Europe the punishment is rehabilitation instead of just incarceration.

Hmmm, kind of begs the question ... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35457472)

... of how to degrade the piss-pots sufficiently to make DNA testing unsuccessful.

(Not that I'm planing a heist like this, of course.)

First thing, just to make life more difficult for the investigators would be all perps piss/ shit into the same pot, until it's full ; then any chemicals get added, and the container gets sealed. (This means that there is only one open bottle to knock over at any one time ; it also means that any undegraded fragments of DNA that make it through the chemical stewing to come, will be mixed from several perps, and it will just add to the DNA tech's difficulties.)

Now, what to do to degrade our piss & shit containers of usable DNA? Well, I'd start with opening up each and every cell to get at the DNA ; that'd start with some potent detergent to break up cell walls. You can just shove the chemicals (probably a dodecyl sulphonate salt) into the bottles as you're using them. After letting that fester for a day or so, most of the cells will be ruptured and their cell components exposed. That doesn't actually degrade the DNA - it's an initial step in DNA testing. So next would be to degrade the exposed DNA. And for that, I can't think of anything much better than an industrial-grade bleach. Mix it into your piss & shit bottle with the detergent as you close up the bottle and within a fairly short time your DNA tech is going to have a bottle that he's going to pass over to examine the next one.

If you wanted, you could try using some protease-rich detergent mix (examine your local range of "biological" washing powder) in to do both jobs. It may have the benefit of being practically untraceable (which can't be said for laboratory-grade reagents). A little experimentation would probably be in order.

This isn't rocket surgery, or brain science. Which in itself begs the question of why such obvious precautions weren't taken by an otherwise organised gang. Unless, of course ... the bottles found at the scene were simply bottles found at the scene, containing DNA from red herrings.

Re:Hmmm, kind of begs the question ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463240)

Or it just didn't occur to them that you could get DNA from urine? Else they'd have just taken the piss.

Occam's razor and all that...

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