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How new technology coming to Colonial Heights could help find stolen property

How Colonial Heights Police hope these kits will help slow theft
Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 17:24:20-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A unique way to stop crime and help victims get their stolen property back is about to get underway in Colonial Heights.

The Colonial Heights Police Department was recently awarded a $20,000 grant.

"The money is a federal grant but it all comes through the state and the state awarded us the grant," Colonial Heights Police Captain Thad Johnson said.

The grant money will be used to purchase SmartWater kits for city residents.

"You want to make sure it's shaken up rather well. You just inconspicuously mark a certain area of whatever product that you want to or item you want to mark. It's invisible to the naked eye. It marks the product with a chemical forensic code that is specific to the owner of the kit," Johnson said.

Once the kits are registered, leaders are hopeful they will help with theft.

"This can be deployed and help us get the property that we find back to its rightful owner based on the product itself," Johnson said.

Back in April 2021, a similar SmartWater device was used at the Ettrick Deli after a string of burglaries. It resulted in an arrest when a special light showed the suspect covered in a unique chemical substance.

For Cheyanne Lyden, SmartWater is a logical step to protect her property.

"Being able to mark it on multiple things and for police, to be able to know with just by scanning it with a little black light, that's a wonderful idea and I loved that," Lyden said.

The small swipe is good to last for about five years.

The Colonial Heights Police expect the SmartWater kits to arrive in May. At that time, people living in the city can reach out to the police department to obtain their free kit. They will be distributed while supplies last.

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