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Wurst luck: half-eaten sausage helps German police solve cold case

Inquiry into 2012 burglary is revived after French police turn up a DNA match for unrelated crime

German police say they have solved a nine-year-old burglary case after DNA found on a half-eaten piece of sausage matched that of a man detained in France over an unrelated crime.

Police in the western town of Schwelm said on Thursday the sausage belonged to the victim, and the suspect – a 30-year-old Albanian citizen – appeared to have helped himself to a bite during the break-in in Gevelsberg in March 2012.

Officers from the Nordrhein-Westfalen force said in a statement the DNA pattern did not produce a direct hit at the time but that automatic comparisons with international databases led to a link later on.

The connection was made after French police took a DNA sample from a man involved in a violent crime that matched the burglary sample, alerting investigators.

It was not clear what type of sausage – known in Germany as wurst – the burglar had nibbled, though police said it was a hard variety.

However, the statute of limitations on the burglary has expired, meaning the suspect is unlikely to be extradited to Germany. Schwelm police said the suspect remains free.

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