German police crack cold case with DNA found on half-eaten sausage

Lillian Stone
·1 min read
Row of bratwurst on gril
Row of bratwurst on gril

Always pack a snack when you’re committing an act of burglary. That’s my advice to you, reader. You should, however, make sure you take any leftovers with you when you flee the scene, lest you suffer the consequences nearly a decade later—like the burglar who was identified via DNA nine years after a break-in thanks to a half-eaten piece of sausage.

The Guardian reports that German police have solved a 2012 burglary case using DNA found on a half-eaten wurst at the original crime scene. (The Guardian points out that the exact variety of sausage remains unclear, although police said it was a hard variety.) Police in the German town of Schwelm released a statement saying that the sausage belonged to the victim of a break-in that took place in March 2012. The suspect reportedly helped himself to a wee bite of the sausage, and investigators logged the DNA sample in a police database. The case remained unsolved, the sausage forgotten in the annals of weird German crime history—until now.

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Nine years later, the investigators got a hit on the sausage DNA: it matched that of a man recently detained in France over an unrelated crime. Unfortunately, Germany’s statute of limitations on the burglary has expired; in the statement, Schwelm police said the offending sausage nibbler remains free. Will this revelation deter future carnivorous criminals? Not likely—if anything, the debacle goes to show that you can, in fact, have your wurst and eat it, too.