In an example of how law enforcement can use science to solve crimes, authorities with the New Jersey State Police say they were able to arrest a copper pipe thief thanks to saliva.

34-year-old William Clifford of Maple Shade has been charged with burglary, criminal trespass, theft, and fencing.

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Troopers say their investigation started on February 3rd when copper pipes were removed from the basement of a home in Hainesport, Burlington County.

During the investigation, troopers observed the suspect left saliva on the stairs leading down to the basement where the copper piping was removed.

Detectives were able to obtain a DNA sample from the saliva and "when the sample was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a national DNA collection database, it resulted in a positive match for Clifford."

Last week, troopers were able to get a DNA sample from Clifford which, after an analysis, allegedly linked him to the crime.

Clifford was arrested without incident and was being held in the Burlington County Jail pending a detention hearing.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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