The Real Cost of Chewing Tobacco
Police in Washington State foiled a near-perfect bank robbery this week by using DNA evidence they extracted from the suspect’s spittoon.
In September, the man allegedly pepper-sprayed an armored-car guard and ran off with a bag full of money. Witnesses called police, describing the suspect as a man in a blue shirt, construction vest, and particle mask. The cops arrived to see a dozen men matching that description aimlessly milling around near the bank.
It turns out these decoys had been lured to the site by an ad posted on Craigslist that promised construction work to anyone who showed up wearing a “yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask … and, if possible, a blue shirt.”
While police sorted through the decoys, the suspected robber ditched his disguise, ran to a nearby creek, and escaped downstream on an inner tube.
All police were left with was the suspect’s disguise, which was recovered after the robbery. DNA was eventually pulled from the discarded particle mask. But how could it be matched to the robber?
As it happens, police had been trailing a man, 28-year-old Anthony Curcio, for some time. Without his knowledge, they snagged a sample of his DNA from a container he’d been using as a spittoon for his chewing tobacco. The DNA matched the sample from the discarded mask, and police arrested Curcio last week in a department-store parking lot. He is now in custody in Snohomish County, Wash.
We’ve blogged about the true price of smoking a pack of cigarettes (it’s close to $222). But chewing tobacco may have cost this man far more.