The burglar broke into yet another suburban business office near Minneapolis. A crime scene technician spied a half-eaten corn dog on the floor. He found DNA on it that matched a man who had 27 previous arrests and 10 felony convictions for theft, forgery, and burglary. The man is in custody, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Catching burglars and other nonviolent criminals through saliva, hair, sweat, or other evidence is increasingly common in Hennepin County, where DNA collection isn't just for big crimes anymore.
The county crime lab took in more than 500 cases involving biological evidence last year – a 67 percent increase from 2006. Sheriff Rich Stanek is expanding the crime lab and inviting local police to call in his deputies more often. Stanke is embarking on a $2.6 million expansion, including new equipment to process more cases, which is slated for completion by the end of 2010. Catching low-level criminals is important to public safety, Stanek said, and forensic evidence is something that a “CSI”-watching public is coming to expect. “The jury expects, in some cases, to have, ‘Well, where's the DNA?' ” Stanek said.