Missoula, Montana police recently put the bite on a serial car thief, with help from his cell phone — and his dog. The Missoulian reports that the man stole an SUV in Spokane, Washington and two more in Missoula, where he was arrested after being seen with one of the cars, which was under surveillance. (For readers not in Montana, the two cites are about 200 miles apart.) When police found the cars, they also found “dog-related items and dog hair with color, length and type consistent with a dog owned by Roth,” according to the newspaper’s account of court documents.
He had also taken pictures of the stolen cars with his cell phone.
And – in case you don’t think the guy was stupid enough – he was also charged with criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license. Now, I don’t know if the drug paraphernalia was found in the stolen cars, or whether, like the leash, he just left it there. But you gotta know somebody’s gonna be looking for the car, right?
Put this in your comic novel–because you couldn’t write this in a serious mystery with a straight face.
A note on the admissibility of the dog hair evidence: a lab analysis and report will be required before the evidence can be admitted at trial, and the lab analyst will need to testify. But hair analysis–whether human or animal–is not new or unusual, and should not present any evidentiary issues. (Evidentiary issues – that’s legal talk for big doo-doo.)