New technology makes it easier to recover stolen property

Thieves now have a new tool to reckon with if they plan on stealing your stuff.
Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 8:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s an issue law enforcement continues to battle, tracing stolen items to their rightful owners.

LMPD on Thursday introduced a new tool to its department that is free to use and requires only a simple swipe of adhesive.

The adhesive contains microscopic chips with invisible identifiers. The chips can be detected by law enforcement using a black light and a microscope.

“The reason we call it DNA for property is because there are unique characteristics in every single packet of this adhesive,” Pro Tech DNA spokesman Shawn Andreas said.

Andreas introduced the tools to 5,000 police departments in all 50 states. LMPD now has the microscope to track stolen items.

In 2018, the department received 18,841 larceny reports. The cases included a wide variety of items like stolen bikes, power tools and even gnomes.

“When we recover a bunch of stolen property and we can’t figure out who it belongs to, it is frustrating for a lot of reasons,” Lt. Jim Cirillo said. “We would like to get that property back to the person who owns it.”

Without identifiers, it’s near impossible to track down stolen property, Cirillo said. Law enforcement used to recommend engraving items and keeping track of serial numbers, but that rarely happens. For valuable items like jewelry, without a serial number, the adhesive marker works perfectly, Andreas said.

“We are marking anything you can think of, cell tower batteries, copper wire, golf cart batteries,” he said.

When police recover stolen items, they can find the markers with a black light. To read the microscopic chips, a microscope reveals the code specific to each user. And a database full of users and their registered items makes it easy for police to contact the larceny victims.

“This will cut a lot of time out of us trying to find the owner and it will make our likelihood of finding that owner more successful,” Cirillo said.

Pro Tech DNA has partnered with insurance companies to cover the costs for both police departments and consumers. For more information on how to get a starter kit, click here.

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