MILTON – A beer can on the side of the road used to be just an eyesore, but now it may also be evidence as Vermont State Police ramp up a new program to catch repeat litterers. Armed with swabs and sealed tubes, the officers are making their way through the back roads of Milton picking up trash and collecting DNA evidence that will help them track down the people responsible for most of the litter and garbage we all see on the sides of roads.
“It’s been frustrating in the past,” said officer Gary Badge. “We have such a beautiful state, I can’t think of a worse crime than throwing beer cans and cigarette butts all over it. But we had no real way of knowing who was responsible for these heinous crimes. Now we will, once we get the lab results back. We’re going to be able to track down and aprehend these criminals, with citations for each piece of trash we find with their DNA on it. We’re starting here in Milton, but by the end of next year I hope to have coverage for all of Vermont.”
Badge and other state troopers have collected and submitted over three thousand piece of trash to date, and have received results back on six of the items. Due to the long waits for DNA lab testing it could be centuries before all of the trash is tested, and the results so fas have not been as conclusive as Badge was hoping for.
“It’s true, we haven’t been able to narrow down our search to any specific suspects yet,” Badge confirmed. “Turns out everyone in Milton is pretty much related to everyone else in Milton. We do have some significant DNA evidence, but from the six results we got back, well, the DNA is a potential match for 88% of the town. But we’re getting more testing done. They can’t keep hiding forever.”