Imagine the indignation of returning to your home to find that not only has it been ransacked, but the perpetrator took a massive bite out of that lovely sausage you were saving (is nothing sacred?). That's exactly what happened to a homeowner in the Rocholzalle in Gevelsberg, Germany, back in 2012. Nine years on, police finally have the identity of the perpetrator thanks to evidence of their guilt that was conveniently sealed with the bite of a sausage.
Following the burglary in 2012, officers on the scene discovered an uncoventional clue as they took DNA from a half-eaten sausage. The sausage belonged to the victim who, aware that they hadn’t tucked into it themself, was able to confirm that the bitemark could only belong to the burglar. A press release from the police doesn't detail exactly what kind of sausage it was, but it would prove to be hard edible evidence.
Sure enough, forensics were able to lift DNA from the bite mark in the sausage meat, but a search returned no matches at the time and the guilty party went free. That was, until they committed an unrelated crime in France (no nibbled sausage calling card, this time) for which the arresting officers took a sample of their DNA. At last, an automated piece of tech was able to find a match for the Great Sausage Case of 2012, a 30-year-old Albanian citizen. Unfortunately for the victim of the burglary, the statute of limitations had passed thwarting any chances of the criminal being extradited for trial in Germany, leaving them once again free to bite another sausage.
The case might sound ridiculous, but random paraphernalia has represented pivotal evidence in some major criminal cases. In 2005, DNA from a discarded napkin was used to confirm that Jerry Westrom was responsible for the murder of Jeanne Ann Childs. The search for the killer took 12 years and Westrom was identified as a person of interest after samples from the original crime scene were submitted to a private online genealogy company (the kind people use to find out about their family history).
The search pulled up a partial match connected to Westrom, but that alone wasn’t enough to convict him. To get the DNA sample they needed - without alerting him to the investigation - undercover officers followed Westrom to a hockey match where he ate a hotdog and threw away a napkin. They were able to retrieve this from the trash and a DNA sample lifted from the napkin was a match to that from the scene of the crime.