JUNEAU — It may look a little bit like “CSI” crime fighting, but with a quick scan of stolen valuables, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office now can detect who is the rightful owner.
That is if the owner thinks ahead and purchases a DNA for Property Kit. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is one of the first law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin to use the technology.
The kits are a special forensic adhesive that can be applied to valuables. The adhesive is swabbed on an item and will permanently dry clear and invisible to the naked eye. Suspended in the adhesive are thousands of dots that are 1/20 of a millimeter in size. Chemically etched into the microdot is a unique alphanumeric personal identification number.
Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said 44 people already signed up for the program in the first few hours it was announced Monday.
“I looked at it and felt it would be good for the citizens of Dodge County and identifying who the property belongs to,” Schmidt said. “It is inexpensive. You only pay for the shipping and handling.”
Residents just need to set up their free account at protechDNA.com. The kits are mailed directly to the user’s address. There is a one-time setup and shipping fee of $5.99. A portion of the fees will help provide equipment to law enforcement around the country.
Those who use the service can log on to the website and document their items so the sheriff’s office can easily identify the property when it is located, Schmidt said.
The PIN is registered in a national database linking the PIN to the user contact details. Every item swabbed with the DNA adhesive can be entered into the user’s account, including make, model, serial number if applicable, pictures and other property characteristics.
Dodge County Sheriff’s Office has detection equipment to determine if property has been marked with the DNA adhesive and special readers to view the PIN on the microscopic dots. The PIN will be entered into a secure law enforcement database to retrieve owner contact information.
Schmidt said if the property stays local or if it gets sold to a pawn shop, the added technology will help locate the rightful owner.
Currently, there are over 5,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the country that use the technology.
Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.