Solving Crime on DNA Time

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When Lasker's Jewelry store was robbed in February 2005 the Eau Claire Police Department found one big clue.

"We collected some blood evidence and submitted it to the crime lab," says Lt. Tim Golden.

But that's where the investigation stalled.

A crime that took a few minutes to commit took more than 10 months to process at the state crime lab.

When the results came back police linked the robbery to a man doing prison time in Minnesota.

"We probably have right now about a dozen cases at the crime lab that are pending DNA testing," Golden adds.

Right now the average wait time for dna tests in non-violent crimes is nine months to a year.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he wants to change that and will ask for at least 15 more analysts and more money from the legislature.

More money and more people may help Chippewa Falls Detective Bob Adams. He and the department are waiting for DNA on ten cases including a burglary that can't be solved without it.

"We've almost got enough to charge but not enough to put it on the fast track," says Detective Bob Adams.

Adams says while the long wait time may be frustrating for investigators it could be dangerous for the public.

"If they're out there in the community terrorizing the people when there's evidence sitting some place that could put them in jail or stop the crime from happening that would be a benefit for everyone," says Adams.

In the meantime Adams says he and everyone else will just have to wait for the resources to match the demand.