A Portland woman has been arrested in conjunction with a string of car thefts. DNA tests and police investigative work has led to multiple counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle for 20-year-old Kristen Upham, who is being charged in connection with four auto thefts in three jurisdictions.

Detective Gil Millett of the Happy Valley police collected DNA samples from two of the stolen vehicles back in 2007, but kept the work quiet for fear of tipping of the thieves.

“Suspects can’t help but leave their DNA behind,” said Millett “Sometimes they leave clothes behind, cigarettes, food, their garbage. We as officers are doing a little bit better job of processing some of these stolen cars now.”

There seemed to be an epidemic of car thefts in Happy Valley between the months of May and June 2007, with up to nine cars reported stolen every night. Millett asked forensics to run analysis on the DNA samples collected, but no matches were returned.

Upham was then convicted of auto theft for a separate case and her DNA went into the system. Millett was then notified of a match and contacted Portland and Gresham police. According to Millet, “Each officer took note that these cases weren’t isolated incidents, but part of a larger group of cars we were all seeing.”

Kristen Upham has been ordered into the Clackamas County Jail with bail set $150,000. She is awaiting a court date. easyDNA provide answers to all your DNA forensic test questions. For more information, contact us on directly via email or call our offices.


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