Salivating Scoundrels: Police Identify Highway Thief from Hand-Kiss DNA

Some men will steal your heart, others will steal your wallet. But one man might soon learn that, if you plan on doing the latter, don't seal the deal with a kiss.

A cotton swab and DNA sequencing chart at the division for DNA analyis of Bremen's police. Zoom
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A cotton swab and DNA sequencing chart at the division for DNA analyis of Bremen's police.

If you think the days of the gentleman thief are over, you might be right.

Three years ago, a young Romanian lad of 32 found himself on the side of the road in Grünstadt, a town about 20 minutes by car northwest of Mannheim. According to a police press release, he waved down a car whose driver, a 30-year-old woman, rolled down the window to see what was the trouble. The man leaned into the car and unfolded a map, asking the women if she could point him in the right direction to get on the autobahn toward Austria.

While she pointed out the way on the map, the man reached behind and under it to slip the woman's wallet out of her purse, which was lying on the passenger-side seat. Thankful for her assistance -- and cash -- the young man gave the driver a gentlemanly kiss on the hand.

Saliva

Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but a woman robbed can't be far off. When she learned that her wallet had been stolen, the woman went to the police, who were able to get a DNA sample from the saliva left on her hand.

Now, three years later, DNA tests have confirmed that the man who robbed her is the same one who was fingerprinted and photographed in October in Austria after being arrested in a fraud investigation.

But the discovery hasn't meant justice for the woman quite yet, as the police have no idea where the man is.

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