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Monday, August 5, 2002

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...

Look out, Vegas! 
The conference kicked off last night with the President's Reception... looks like it's going to be a busy week!  I'm planning a special auction to celebrate a year of the Detail... That's right... this is the 52 issue!!  So the BidNow item will be posted next week.  And no, it's not my speakers gift from the conference.  :)  (a nice laser-pointer!, and a magnifying glass!  Thanks to Jim for the excellent speakers gifts!)

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.

Last week, we looked at the "minimum point" issue as recently brought up in Daubert-related challenges, and we realized that point requirements are not really a standard of identification... rather, they should be viewed as another of the many quality control measures in place.  For a more in depth look at the concept, check out the Detail Archives.

This week, we examine a case from Grand Rapids Michigan.  Bill Wolz presents a glove identification, using ACE-V methodology and Adobe PhotoShop for demonstration.  What more could I ask for on the 1 year anniversary of the Website!  Thanks, Bill, for this excellent submission to the 52nd Weekly Detail.


Glove Analysis Using ACE-V and Adobe Photoshop

             Recently, an arrest of three suspected burglars in Grand Rapids led to a subsequent search warrant of their vehicle.  The individuals were suspected of several other burglaries in the area, yet fingerprint evidence was negligible or nullified through elimination prints from the residents.

            The crime scene technician that was involved in the processing of these scenes had taken a special interest in them because of the unusually defined glove markings found at the point of entry of one of the break-ins. He used standard silver powder and was able to obtain several lifts that yielded unique quality for possible identification.

            The search warrant produced a leather batting-glove that seemed to have similar stitch marks to one of the lifts that was produced at the crime scene.  A closer look seemed to confirm a strong possibility that the glove was used by one of the suspects when he committed the burglary.  An examination was needed to provide any firm conclusions.


            Illustration 1 shows the same stitch mark curving through the areas of the glove section and of the silver powder lift. This is very similar to looking for pattern types and ridge flow in the analysis stage of fingerprint identification.


            By lining up the stitching in each exemplar, a split can be seen with a closer examination. The area that is clearest in the lifted print is found near this curved area that runs from top to bottom and right to left.  After scanning the lifted print and a close-up digital photograph of the glove surface into the computer, Adobe Photoshop was used to look at the detail of the grain pattern found in known glove mark and the lifted print. Illustration 2 shows this detail.

            While bifurcations, ridge endings and dots are generally the minutia characteristics defined by Grand Rapids Police Latent Print Examiners, these would hardly apply in this particular identification.  The close-up images provided a unique vantage point to study the shapes of the individual grains within the leather pattern.


            Using the paint tool and a selected color that contrasted the backgrounds of each image, the outline of each individual grain was highlighted.  Illustration 3 exhibits this procedure.  The results of this process produced a unique set of design lines that match from the known print to the lifted print.  This is clarified by taking away the background layers in each image. The residual colored patterns are shown side by side in Illustration 4.



            With these enlarged images of the detail found in the grain pattern of each exemplar, it was a fairly simple identification.  While it is rare to have such an opportunity in the careers of most latent print examiners, this identification will be used to tie these suspects to a crime scene otherwise unsolved.


The CLPEX chat board is still "down."  Proboards has not yet fixed the problem, and I am speaking with people here at the conference this week about available programs for WITHIN the website.  This means no more pop-up ads on our chat board!!

The onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent print-related discussions.


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

No major updates on the site this week.... plan on finding a new chat board soon.  Keep those Daubert Card Issues going, though!!

Feel free to pass the link to The Detail along to other examiners.  This is a free service FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.

If you have not yet signed up to receive the Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail inbox, go ahead and join the list now so you don't miss out!

Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!


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