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SmartWater CSI provides investigation tool for Chesterfield police

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The Chesterfield County Police Department says an invisible liquid is helping them add another tool in their investigation toolbox.

The department says SmartWater CSI helped officers catch 52-year-old Christopher Gaines, a suspect accused of burglarizing Ettrick Deli. This week, he was indicted by a grand jury.

Lieutenant Stephen Fortier, with the police department’s crime prevention unit, says their agency is the only one in Virginia using SmartWater CSI.

“It’s a liquid with a unique code in each vial,” he said.

Fortier says this liquid is colorless, non-toxic and odorless. He says county residents can put SmartWater CSI on any items ranging from jewelry to tools.

“They put it on their items and it’s invisible to the naked eye,” he said. “Colorless, non-toxic, odorless, so no one will never know it’s there until we use our special UV light that’s issued by SmartWater and see it.”

The end result is a fluorescent mark that can last for five years.

During Gaines’s arrest in April, police were able to track SmartWater CSI on his clothing using a special UV light.

Lt. Fortier says a liquid sample from SmartWater CSI can reveal the unique code for a user.

“We have evidence recovery kits that our forensic investigators are trained to use and they’ll recover the SmartWater and send it off to the SmartWater labs, and they’ll be able to tell what code that is,” Lt. Fortier said.

In the past, Lt. Fortier says they went to neighborhoods with higher rates of unsolved burglaries to talk about this technology. In neighborhoods with 20 percent or more of homes using SmartWater CSI, Lt. Fortier says they put up signs warning thieves to beware.

“It does allow us to have another investigative tool in our toolbox that when we recover it, we can find out who it belonged to,” he said. “If it’s in connection with a suspect, we can put that suspect back to the crime.”

Chesterfield residents can buy this technology through SmartWater CSI. For more information about this technology, you can also call the Chesterfield County Police Department at (804)-318-8699.

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