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Severed finger points to suspect in Arizona copper theft

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A finger severed during an attempted theft of copper wire in the Phoenix valley "pointed" police to the culprit, who is now behind bars, investigators in Arizona said on Thursday.

The macabre find came to light on October 7 when an air-conditioning firm employee in the Arizona city of Glendale found that someone had attempted to steal a length of copper wire from his pickup truck, the Glendale Police Department said.

The spool had been tugged out about 20 feet from the truck. Walking back to investigate, the unidentified man found "what appeared to be a cut off finger that was caught up in the wiring," police said in a statement.

An officer responding to the scene retrieved the finger and sent it to the police forensics laboratory where technicians obtained a latent print that identified the suspect - 29-year-old Glendale resident Joshua Allen Goverman.

During subsequent questioning, detectives noted that Goverman was missing a portion of one of his fingers. He initially claimed he lost the digit while working on a car, but changed his story on learning that the missing finger was in the police evidence room.

"You might say Joshua's finger had its own version of the story to tell and pointed Joshua directly to jail," police said in a statement.

While Goverman was booked into the Glendale City Jail on a misdemeanor theft charge, police said his severed finger "has now become one (of) the 'creepiest' things this Halloween being kept in the Glendale Police Evidence Room."

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay)

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