Authorities look to preserve forensic evidence in getaway car fires

Burnt out getaway car in Chahid Yakhlaf assassination (Photo: Politie)Burnt out getaway car in Chahid Yakhlaf assassination (Photo: Politie)

The police and fire department are investigating different techniques to put out fires that could help preserve forensic evidence, Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan said on Friday. According to the Telegraaf, he responded to questions raised by conservative VVD party city counselor Dilan Yesilgöz, who suggested that getaway care fires should be extinguished with as little water as possible so that DNA is not washed away from a potential crime scene.

Yesilgöz raised the issue at a special committee meeting held in city hall on Thursday following the late night assassination of BMX biker Elco Gjaltema the day before. After Gjaltema was gunned down in front of an Amsterdam Oost apartment building, a car that may have been the shooter’s getaway vehicle was found on fire near the Duivendrecht district.

“The assassinations in the Staatsliedenbuurt [neighborhood] in 2012 were solved in part because trace evidence was found in the getaway car,” she said. “Can the municipality, police, firefighters and the Netherlands Forensic Institute consider other methods of extinguishing these fires, such as with a fire blanket?”

The use of other methods is under careful consideration, the mayor said.

Forensic evidence found in a burnt-out car also led police to arrest two men allegedly involved in the murder of Beyhan Demirci, who was shot with an automatic rifle as she smoked a cigarette on her balcony. Authorities said she was mistaken for her son when she was killed.

A getaway car was also set on fire after recent a shooting at a coffeeshop in Den Bosch, the attempted murder of an underworld figure in Diemen, and an assassination attempt in Utrecht.