Burglar Caught Using SICAR
Submitted by Julie Voyce
Burglary suspect arrested after Foster + Freeman shoe print technology places him at the crime scene.
A burglary suspect has been caught by police using new technology installed just days before the arrest. Foster + Freeman’s SICAR 6, a shoe print identification software package, together with the SoleMate footwear database, was installed at Cape Coral Police Department in Florida in January.
Within days of officers being trained on the equipment a serial burglar was arrested and a shoe print taken from one of the crime scenes was identified as belonging to him.
It is hoped this evidence, along with other DNA taken from one of the burglaries, will lead to the conviction of Scott Krupp, the 30-year-old suspect.
SICAR 6 works by adopting a simple coding technique to characterize shoe prints. This forms the basis for the database search and match operations. The SoleMate database contains details of more than 24,000 sports, work and casual footwear and is regularly updated to include new designs.
Krupp was caught after he fled from officers who had stopped him for a traffic offence. He jumped into a canal and left behind one of his Nike trainers, later retrieved by police divers. Using SICAR 6 the police were able to match it to a print from a recent burglary. Krupp, in jail for driving with a suspended license and other charges related to the traffic stop, was then charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of grand theft, with other charges pending lab tests.
Larry Stringham, Forensic Supervisor with Cape Coral Police Department, believes strongly in the importance of shoe print evidence and recognises the need to speed up the process of identification.
He said: "Usually there is a two to three month delay [in processing shoe prints], with SICAR it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to make a classification.
“This leads to a much higher success rate in linking a criminal to his or her shoe print left at a crime scene. The faster we get the turnaround the greater amount of arrests."
Another Cape Coral Police officer said: “The totality of the evidence really tightens the case. We are a lot better with it (SICAR) than we would have been without it.”
The department obtained the system as part of a $1.15 million stimulus grant applied for in 2009. Cape Coral’s share was about $212,000, which was spent on a variety of forensics equipment.
Michael Zontini, the applications engineer for Foster + Freeman who carried out the training at Cape Coral Police Department, said: “I was really pleased to see they got a result so quickly, it is pretty impressive.”
About SICAR 6
SICAR 6 adopts a simple coding technique to characterize shoe prints which forms the basis for the database search and match operations. The process, which takes no longer than a minute or two, enables the operator to create a coded description of a pattern by identifying elemental features such as lines, waves, zigzags, circles, diamonds and blocks etc.
SICAR 6 can be used to create links between records, either automatically, as a result of a database search that results in two shoe print or tyre mark records being matched, or manually based on additional intelligence. For example, manual links can be made between the records of a suspect and a known associate or the shoe print records taken from several scenes of crime with a similar modus operandi. All links are displayed in a simple ‘tree’ that allows the operator to follow up the associations quickly. An image compositor allows several partial scene-of-crime shoe prints to be joined together to form a more complete image, making visual comparison and matching easier.
The latest edition of 'SoleMate', Foster + Freeman's footwear database, contains details of over 24,000 sports, work and casual footwear. Its purpose is to identify footwear from prints recovered from scenes of crime and it may be used as a standalone system or with SICAR 6.
Each record in SoleMate contains the footwear's manufacturer, the manufacturer's reference for that item, the date of its release on to the market, an image or off-set print of the sole, several pictorial images of the footwear's uppers to aid recognition, and a set of pattern feature codes that facilitate search and match operations. Where different manufacturers have used the same sole unit (a common practice), all relevant SoleMate records are linked, to allow the operator to consider all of the footwear that might have been responsible for the crime scene print.
To use the database, the scene of crime footwear print is first assigned a set of pattern feature codes, a simple procedure that requires the operator to identify a number of elemental pattern features, such as circles, diamonds, zigzags, curves, blocks etc. As there are a variety within each type, a number of options are presented, as images, for the operator to select the best match. The codes assigned to these pattern features form the basis of the database search. The results of a search are then presented in descending order of pattern correlation for the operator to examine visually.
SoleMate is continually updated and distributed to subscribers every three months on DVD.
About Foster + Freeman
Foster + Freeman are innovators in the design and manufacture of systems for the examination of questioned documents, latent fingerprints, trace evidence and shoe prints recovered from scenes of crime. Established in 1978, Foster + Freeman, based in Evesham, Worcestershire, UK, has become one of the foremost forgery detection equipment suppliers in the world, exporting market leading, and in many cases unique products to more than 140 countries.
Foster + Freeman products are designed to assist the detection of counterfeit documents including passports and ID cards, and are used by government agencies including, border control, Homeland Security and the police worldwide, as well as commercial and private organisations such, security printers, lottery companies, insurance companies, university departments and national libraries.
With offices in the UK and the USA, and a global network of agents and distributors, Foster + Freeman are able to provide customers with a high level of technical support, installation and training.