From Der Speigel
Twins Suspected in Spectacular Jewelry Heist Set Free
Saved by their indistinguishable DNA, identical twins suspected in a massive jewelry heist have been set free. Neither could be exclusively linked to the DNA evidence.
German police say at least one of the identical twin brothers Hassan and Abbas O. may have perpetrated a recent multimillion euro jewelry heist in Berlin. But because of their indistinguishable DNA, neither can be individually linked to the crime. Both were set free on Wednesday.
More frighteningly, here in America, unusual procedures are being quietly performed within our legal and intelligence communities; that of using a relative’s DNA to a related criminal to a crime. Read on.
Using a relative’s DNA to catch criminals
US News 03/06/09
By Scott Michels
When a woman was brutally raped in Denver in 2003, DNA found at the crime scene was similar to that of a felon whose genetic profile was kept in Oregon’s DNA database–so similar that the man in Oregon was probably a close relative of the suspect, says Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. But FBI rules on interstate cases prevented Oregon’s crime lab from sharing the man’s name with out-of-state police, effectively stalling the investigation.
“This may be the father or son of the rapist I’m looking for,” says Morrissey. “At least give us the chance to look.”
He may soon get his chance. Prompted by cases like Morrissey’s, the FBI is making it easier for police to use DNA databases to investigate the relatives of the 3.3 million known criminals whose genetic profiles are being kept by the government. In limited situations, crime labs may now release the name of a person in the database who is not actually a suspect but whose DNA is similar to DNA recovered from a crime scene–leading police to then investigate that person’s family. And some prosecutors are pushing states,which set their own policies for in-state cases, to even more aggressively use so-called family searching–a potentially powerful crime-fighting tool whose effect on civil liberties alarms privacy advocates.
It’s getting scary out there!
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