Criminal Identified in Jewelry Store Theft Using Synthetic DNA

jewelry theft

SelectDNA’s synthetic forensic technology was used to identify a criminal in a jewelry store heist in Albany, N.Y. Systems integrator Shepherd Communication & Security and SelectaDNA distributor CSI Protect said that this is the first successful use of synthetic forensic technology as a crime fighting tool in the Northeastern United States.

During the incident, a suspect made off with approximately $4,000 in merchandise. Unbeknownst to him, he was misted by a forensic criminal tagging system that had been installed at the store by Shepherd Communication & Security as part of a pilot crime suppression initiative.

The forensic marking, or synthetic DNA, is applied covertly using a water-based, non-toxic solution that is invisible and remains on a suspect’s skin or clothing for months after being misted, enabling authorities to scientifically and irrefutably identify them long after a crime is committed. In this case, after the alleged perpetrator was apprehended by Albany Police, forensic mist was detected on him using a special frequency UV light. That evidence is now available to prosecutors as the case proceeds through the legal system.

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“This pilot project was designed to demonstrate the value of forensic marking technology in combatting and deterring crime, and assisting with the apprehension of criminals,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. “Today, we can say definitively that it works. This case is testament to the power of cutting-edge technology, such as SelectaDNA, and the important role it is playing in preventing and fighting crime.”

SelectaDNA forensic marking technology has been used in more than 30 countries over the past decade, but has only recently made its way to the United States. The system at Truman Jewelers is the first in the Northeast, but is expected to be joined in short order by entities ranging from retailers to financial institutions seeking to elevate their safety and security protocols.

Each unit of SelectaDNA contains a unique forensic code associated with a specific location, which can scientifically connect a criminal to a particular crime scene. The criminal tagging system can be activated in numerous ways, including a panic button, money clip, remote video monitoring, intrusion and access control systems, and sensors.

“The crime at Truman Jewelers helps demonstrate the capabilities and effectiveness of SelectaDNA technology as we continue introducing this proven crime fighting tool to the United States,” said Joe Maltese, executive vice president of CSI Protect, the exclusive distributor of SelectaDNA technology in North America.  “We are excited to provide businesses and law enforcement with enhanced abilities to prevent and reduce crime, as well as identify, apprehend and prosecute offenders when a crime is committed.”

The primary focus of the technology is crime prevention, with a documented reduction in robbery, burglary, and theft by an average of 40 to 86 percent where it’s deployed, according to the company.