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Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes

Second Priority

The second priority would be to collect swabs from handled items that have been moved, are out of place or do not belong to the resident.

Examples of these are as follows:

  • Pry bars.
  • Tools.
  • Jewelry boxes or watch cases not in their usual location, with the contents missing or scattered (for jewelry boxes that have been moved or the contents removed, use one slightly moistened swab around the edges of the box that would have been touched or held onto when opening it).
  • Cash boxes, cash register drawers.
  • Keys left behind by suspect.
  • Computer connectors or cables left behind if the monitor, printer or the computer was stolen.

When sampling this type of evidence, the wet/dry swabbing method is preferred.  One to two drops of sterile water is placed on a sterile cotton swab.  The area of interest is swabbed with the moistened swab tip, using mild force to remove cellular material and continuously rotating the swab with the goal of an even collection around the circumference of the cotton material.  The wet swab collects some cellular material and also serves to loosen any cells that remain on the item.  Then using a separate dry swab, again use the same mild force and rotating technique on the same area that was swabbed with the wet swab.  The dry swab serves to collect any cellular material dislodged by the wet swab.

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