Unique Technology “Smokes” Out Criminals

businessman with head in the clouds

(DGIwire) — On April 4, 2011, the SecureCash cash depot outside Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was eerily quiet in the early morning hours, behind two stories of barbed wire and multiple security posts.

Suddenly, out of a light mist, a black, new-model BMW M5 screamed to a stop. Five figures ran from the car, somehow making their way to the depot walls. Three teeth-rattling explosions rang out, and the gang was quickly inside the depot. In the ensuing melee, two guards were shot and wounded, and the gang made their getaway.

Only weeks following, at a Brinks facility in Amsterdam, the same gang was chased along the A2 superhighway by police until the gang’s car crashed and burned. They hijacked another, and disappeared.

For years, the gang taunted police, clearly seen in surveillance video dressed like characters out of the 1983 movie Scarface, and often including a woman, also dressed like one of the movie’s characters. No less than 80 robberies were committed in the spree.

Early on, one member was captured and remanded to a court, but without enough evidence to convict. At last report, four had been arrested, and two escaped to Morocco.

Robberies of cash and high-value items are becoming bolder, more clever and more vicious. In many of them, criminals have begun to change their appearance, wearing prosthetics, changing skin and hair color, thus neutralizing video surveillance.

In response, police in the United Kingdom have formed elite, heavily armed anti-gang units such as Operation Matrix in Liverpool, Excalibur in Manchester and SCD7 in London.

They are also adopting advanced technology, aiming to pin criminals to crimes they have committed, with or without their high-tech disguises. For several years, one such technology, a security fog called SmokeCloak®, has been used to immobilize intruders by instantly deploying an impenetrable but harmless fog.

The SmokeCloak technology has succeeded in expelling criminals: disoriented and unable to see more than a few inches, their first response is to leave.

Now a new product infuses this security fog with a unique mark derived from plant DNA. When the fog is deployed, criminals in the intrusion area are marked with this unique code, which embeds itself in clothing, and even skin and hair.

Finally, law enforcement has the evidence they need to convict.

Branded as SmokeCloak® DNA, by Stony Brook, NY-based Applied DNA Sciences, the technology is just now beginning to be deployed in the U.S. and Europe. Popular Science awarded the product its coveted Best of What’s New 2014, in the magazine’s widely read December issue.

“Our goal is simply stated,” says Applied DNA CEO Dr. James A. Hayward. “We use 21st-century technology to make people safer. We are smarter than the criminals, and we think they are beginning to realize that.”