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DNA on a potato leads to arson charges for a teen stripper

They say that people who commit crimes always leave evidence at the scene of the crime. One 19-year-old woman is facing criminal charges based on an unlikely piece of evidence -- a potato. That potato isn't the only interesting part of the case.

The case begins with a 19-year-old woman who worked as a stripper. The woman went on a trip with a fellow stripper. The other stripper borrowed $1,200 from the 19-year-old woman. That decision is the first key point in this case.

Apparently, the borrowing stripper was slow to repay the loan and still owed one-third of the money. That led the 19-year-old woman to seek revenge. She decided that she was going to burn down the building that housed two businesses, one of which was the borrower's stepfather's business.

The woman had her boyfriend drive her to the scene. He gave her a hammer and a gas can. They stopped on the way to the location to fill up the gas can. Once they arrived at the building, she busted in a window, poured the gasoline around, and dropped a flaming napkin into that fuel. The building was a total loss and had to be razed.

The woman allegedly shoved a potato into the tailpipe of a van that belonged to the borrower's stepfather's business. The stepfather discovered the potato. It was that potato in the tailpipe that led police to the young woman when a forensic examination showed her boyfriend's DNA. He then spilled the beans about the potato and his girlfriend.

The young woman is now facing a host of charges in relation to the incident. These include first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree arson, and third-degree burglary. She is already incarcerated for heroin possession and trying to use counterfeit bills to pay a toll.

In cases that involve multiple charges, addressing each charge as part of your defense is crucial. This can sometimes be complicated, and it likely requires a working knowledge of the applicable laws.

Source: The Washington Post, "A teen stripper, an arson and the case of the telltale potato," Ben Guarino, July 14, 2016

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