Despite having all evidence and abundant witnesses of crimes, the police sometimes find no way but to allow the criminals to get away, when it comes to identical twins.
During trials, the judging authorities apparently fail to pick one of the twin siblings to be a criminal as the familiar methods are unable to differentiate between them. They share all of their genes, most of the identifying marks and are always of the same sex.
Identical twins are also known as monozygotic twins. They result from the fertilization of a single egg that splits in two.
Many times, one twin commits a crime and blames it on the other.
They would have been unstoppable if their fingerprints were different. They do not have identical fingerprints, even though their identical genes give them very similar patterns.
Thanks to modern technology, police now use fingerprint samples to identify criminals. And this is the only means that can pull the rein of crimes committed by the identical twins.
Below are the much-discussed cases when the identical twins were freed by court after committing serious crimes.
Charles and George Finn of USA
Charles and George Finn served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. George served as a flight instructor while Charles was a B-17 pilot.
In 1952, the brothers purchased a World War II–era C-46 airplane from the Bakersfield school district with the intention of modifying it for their new airline.
The US government stopped the purchase because the school district was not allowed to sell the airplane. The brothers refused to return the plane, and one of them flew it into the Nevada desert to hide it from the government.
The FBI recovered the craft and arrested the brothers. A federal grand jury decided against prosecuting the Finns because the witness could not identify the twin who flew the airplane into the desert.
Hassan and Abbas O of Germany
In 2009, a set of twins, identified only as Hassan and Abbas O, escaped prosecution despite one or even both of them being involved in a jewelry heist.
In the early hours of February 25 of the year, three men raided a luxury store in Germany and stole watches and jewelry worth €5 million.
The men were caught on CCTV footage. One of them also left a glove behind.
Police extracted DNA samples from the glove, but they could not determine which brother had committed the heist or whether both brothers were involved.
The men never confessed, either. The CCTV footage was useless because the criminals were masked.
The police finally freed both brothers even though the jewelry remained missing.
The Fox Brothers of England
Identical twins born in 1857, Albert Ebenezer Fox and Ebenezer Albert Fox had very similar names and a penchant for poaching.
Known as the Twin Foxes, they tried to use their matching mugs to their advantage, castigating authorities in England and demanding compensation for convicting the wrong brother.
Between the two of them, the twins were convicted nearly 150 times for poaching.
But according to a 1913 New York Times story, they complained "that, owing to the stupidity of gamekeepers and police, the non-offending brother has suffered conviction in almost every other instance and that the soul of each burns at the thought of the injustice done to his brother."
Chutzpah aside, their criminal resumes helped lead to the discovery that fingerprints could be used to identify culprits - because although twins share DNA, their fingerprints are different.
Sathis and Sabarish Raj of Malaysia
In 2003, police officers in Malaysia arrested one of Sathis and Sabarish Raj for being in possession of cannabis and opium. Soon after the arrest, his twin arrived at the house and was also picked up.
Officers soon found themselves in a fix when they could not identify which twin they had arrested for being in possession of the drugs.
DNA tests were inconclusive, and the brothers were not talking. Although the twins were put on trial, the judge discharged them because she could not determine which had committed the crime. The errant brother would have been executed if he had been found guilty.
Orlando and Brandon Nembhard of USA
Outside a nightclub in Arizona, a fight broke out on the night of February 12, 2011. By the time it was over, 19-year-old Sir Xavier Brooks had been shot dead. A month later, police picked up Orlando Nembhard for the murder. The investigation quickly became complicated after police realized that Orlando had an identical twin brother named Brandon.
Police had no DNA to pinpoint the brothers for the murder, although it would have done little. The murder weapon was also missing, so police could not get fingerprints. They only had visual identification. But that was unreliable because witnesses kept alternating between the brothers.
The judge presiding over the case termed it inconclusive and the shooter still remains unknown.
Patric and James of England
The twins were arrested for possessing deadly weapons illegally. Police fail to identify the real culprit between the brothers. As a result, they both were acquitted.
Jerome and Tyrone of USA
Police arrested the twins on charge of serial rapes in 1999. But they failed to identify the real culprit between the brothers. The case is still lying unresolved.
The article has been compiled in the light of stories carried by The New York TImes, abcNEWS, TIME, and LISTVERSE.