CBS News Logo Soda Can DNA Helps Cops Solve Break-Ins

RazJohn Smyer, a suspect in a string of Denver-area break-ins, often checked his victims' refrigerators and helped himself to a drink. The soda cans he left behind gave police enough DNA evidence to link him to five burglaries. He's now serving a 20-year sentence. Smyer's conviction is just one example of how DNA evidence is increasingly being used to solve everyday property crimes across the nation. Once reserved mostly for violent cases such as rape and murder, genetic testing is now much cheaper and faster than when the technology was new. "Regular watchers of CSI may be led to believe that this technology is already being used in this way, but it's really brand-new," said John Roman of the Urban Institute, lead author of a study on the issue. "This really is the start of a revolution in policing." The evidence can include almost any biological material left at a crime scene: saliva taken from food, skin cells from the steering wheel of a stolen car, drops of blood from a thief who got cut on a window pane. By using DNA, authorities are five times more likely to identify a suspect than with fingerprints alone. DNA also doubles the number of suspects who are identified, arrested and prosecuted, according to the study, which was funded by the National Institute of Justice. Burglars identified with DNA evidence in Denver usually plead guilty because prosecutors "have very solid evidence," said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. For many years, the high cost of DNA tests and the long wait for results made it difficult for authorities to use the technology in property crimes. But genetic testing has come a long way since 1989, when investigators needed a blood sample about the size of a half dollar or a seminal fluid stain the size of a dime to perform an accurate analysis, which took about 10 weeks and cost $1,000. "It was great for the prosecution, but it wasn't good for the investigation," recalled Paul Ferrara, who recently retired as director of Virginia's Continue Reading

Ratings and Review: 2018 Hyundai Accent

Full Car Details More Reviews Styling sells cars. You know it. I know it. And J.D. Power knows it, because that’s what the people who respond to its annual Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study consistently tell the market research firm. In fact, based on their data, styling is just as important as reliability is when people make a decision about which vehicle to buy. If this is true, then the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Accent ought to sit at the top of budget-buyer consideration lists. This subcompact sedan looks terrific inside and out, and its industry-leading warranty coverage virtually guarantees long-term dependability. Curious to see if Hyundai’s littlest car is worthy of your consideration, I spent a week driving an Accent Limited wearing a sticker price of $19,905 (including the $885 destination charge). The answer is yes, it is. Design: 9.3 rating Normally, entry-level cars resort to goofy styling and bright paint colors to presumably appeal to the young, immature, self-absorbed buyers that corporate decision-makers predict will buy a cheap set of wheels. And because designers need to maximize interior space on small platforms, they’re often proportionally misshapen. With the new 2018 Accent, Hyundai drapes the equivalent of a tailored suit over admittedly basic engineering, and the result is impressive. I’d even call this Hyundai’s most attractive sedan outside of, maybe, the Elantra Sport. And to my eyes, it is definitely the best looking car in its segment. Inside, your eyes detect evidence of art and style, from the flowing dashboard forms decorated with silver and gloss black accents to the upscale pin-dot fabric inserts for the seats and door panels. Instrumentation is a model of clarity, too. As a result of this design effort, you won’t feel like a chump walking up to the Accent Limited, and you won’t feel like a chump while driving it. Lots of car companies talk about Continue Reading

Test Drive: 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe is a power hungry kitty

Snarl. Snort. Grumble. Growl! Explaining what it’s like to drive the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe requires sounds that more closely resemble describing a trip to the zoo, rather than a day spent behind the wheel of a British sports car. This Jaguar is rough, tough, and extremely vocal (that’s a fancy way of saying it’s super LOUD!) when you step on the gas and unleash the 550-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine. This motor not only propels the F-Type Coupe to a top speed of 186 mph, it sounds like a WWII fighter plane in full dive. You can sacrifice the exhaust note, and a heap of power, by choosing the two V-6-powered versions of the F-Type Coupe, of course. The entry-level model comes with a supercharged 340-horsepower V-6, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport exhaust with twin centrally-mounted pipes, and a thumping Meridian sound system. At $65,000 to start, the F-Type Coupe is only a few grand more than a typical Corvette Stingray, and thousands less than what you’d pay for a 350-horsepower Porsche 911 Carrera (minus any options). It’s good, but I want more – and so should you. Next up is the F-Type S Coupe, which comes with a 380-horsepower supercharged V-6, 19-inch “propeller” wheels, a limited slip differential, active sport exhaust, gloss black and chrome exterior trim, performance brakes with black calipers, and a sport suspension fitted with Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics system. This works to monitor the vehicle’s body motion and steering input (up to 500 times per second), and adjusts the dampers to instantly suit each driving scenario. Starting at $81,000, the F-Type S Coupe is positioned between sports cars and near-exotics, such as the Audi R8 and Maserati GranTurismo. You could stop here and be extremely happy with your Jaguar, the British automaker’s re-entry into the sports car market after decades of catering to a more luxury-focused clientele. Part of me Continue Reading

100 ways to survive 100-degree heat in Arizona

This version of this story is no longer being updated. Please find a current, interactive version here.Once the temperature tops 100 degrees, it's hard to find a reason to leave the air-conditioned house. Here are 100 ways to actually enjoy the heat this summer.The museum is ranked nationally as a top destination for families, and it's easy to hear why. The museum offers interactive exhibits that allow kids to play, hear and experience music in new ways. Kids will love wearing headphones, walking through exhibits, and hearing world music. They'll also like the Experience Gallery, where they can try instruments and make their own music.Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays-Saturdays. 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $20; $15 for ages 13-19; $10 for ages 4-12; free for age 3 or younger. 480-478-6000, attractions include a wave pool, slides, rapids experiences and extreme rides like the Tornado, Maximum Velocity and the Constrictor. Or, enjoy floating on the not-so-lazy Crazy Cactus Roaring River, complete with waves and waterfalls. Wet 'n' Wild Jr. offers fun for little visitors.Details: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays until Aug. 9, after which it will only be open on weekends. 4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Glendale. $34.99 on weekends and $31.99 on weekdays; $32.99 on weekends and $29.99 on weekdays for age 62 or older and children shorter than 42 inches; free for age 2 or younger. 623-201-2000, RELATED: Guide to valley water parksCentral Phoenix has its own Sweet Republic branch, on 16th Street just north of Bethany Home Road. The hardest part is choosing from 20-plus delicious flavors, from coconut sorbet to salted butter caramel.Details: Noon-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; noon-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Two locations: 9160 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale. 480-248-6979. 6054 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-535-5990, Can also be found in Whole Foods Markets and at the Phoenix Continue Reading