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DNA From Drink Bottles Leads to Arrests in Huge Seattle Metal Theft!

Copper Prices Feed Market For Scrap Metal
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

King County officials report two men are in custody and charged with stealing 4.3 miles of copper cable from the South Transit Light Rail system between SeaTac and Ranier Beach. The thefts allegedly occurred between November 2010 and August 2011.

The two suspects, 54-year old Donald Howard Turpin and 44-year old Lee Russel Skelly, reportedly entered the maintenance tunnel under the railways via hatches at night, clipped the copper wire, then left.    Police were gradually able to track the wire at various recycling stations around King County.    Turpin reportedly had a state-issued business license that would allow him to sell the materials with little scrutiny.

Officials were able to finally nab the two men, though, because of two Gatorade bottles they left behind at the scene! DNA from the bottles connected the two, and put them at the scene of the crimes.   The details gathered were then used to fill in the blanks.

They face a variety of charges.  Over the last few years, especially because of the tough economy and high amounts paid for recycling, have made copper thefts skyrocket across the country.


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