Matthew Raptis was recently interviewed by Ted White of ABC WPBF 25 News speaking on a new form of security implemented at Raptis Rare Books by CSI Protect.
“Ted White: A Palm Beach business is the first in the state to get a unique crime fighting tool. A tool aimed at exposing criminals. This is not your ordinary book store on Worth Avenue on Palm Beach – It’s a multimillion dollar worth of rare books and we want to prevent any future occurrences of theft. Well, we have a 2nd full edition of Shakespeare 1632, values at half $1 million. There’s 40 to 45 copies known. The book store is also the first business in Florida to use a water based criminal tagging system. The company is called CSI Protect. If a criminal should break into the store, there are several locations inside that could spray a quick solution on the criminal’s skin and clothing. The solution could stay there for weeks and this is how looks under a special light. ”The technology, think of it as human DNA. In our labs the forensic marker in the same form and functionality as human organic DNA. I think it’s a great technology. It helps with deterring people too with tracking so if the spray gets on them it’s a vital tool that we can locate them and prosecute them” (Joe Maltese, Executive Vice President CSI Protect). The people behind CSI Protect say this technology has been very popular for years in Europe and other countries. They say it has many uses.”
The story was also picked up by the Palm Beach Daily News. This is the article below:
A new chapter in theft prevention is being written at Raptis Rare Books on Worth Avenue, a shop that specializes in first editions and signed books — and is home to a 1632 Second Folio collection of the plays of William Shakespeare.
Shop owner Matthew Raptis unveiled a high-tech security system recently that has a decidedly sci-fi flavor. It’s an advanced forensic marking spray that coats crooks with a synthetic DNA-like material that police can use later to identify perpetrators and help them build a case.
The process was designed by a company called CSI Protect, which is introducing the technology in the U.S. after having used it in 33 countries, including the United Kingdom. Raptis Rare Books is the first business in Florida to install the system, according to the company.
“We have had thefts,” Raptis said at a Worth Avenue media event to discuss the new system, although he declined to elaborate. “There’s a reason why we’re doing this.”
Of course, Raptis already had security, including a network of cameras. “This is another level of protection for us.”
It works like this: A device hidden in a store releases a mist on a suspected thief, which can be activated by a panic button or a burglar alarm. The spray contains a specially engineered DNA-like material unique to the property. It’s invisible except under an ultraviolet light and stays on the skin for four to six weeks and on clothing for up to three months.
Like any other criminal investigation, police have to track down the suspect. But once that’s done it’s easier to tie the suspect to the particular theft.
Ted Gonzales, executive director of the Palm Beach County Association of Chiefs of Police, and a former police chief for the Town of Jupiter Island, said the DNA spray is the next step up from a microchip program his department had in use on the island.
In that case, microchips were used by residents to identify their property after it was recovered by police. “There were a couple of identification cases that successfully went through the court system,” he said.
The synthetic DNA evidence that CSI Protect uses has not been tested yet in U.S. courts, said Joe Maltese, vice president of marketing and operations. But it has been used successfully for years in the U.K., where the idea originated, he said.
Rick Seymour, CEO of CSI Palm Beach, a separate security system-installation business, believes the DNA system has promise for both business and residential customers. For example, CSI Protect sells DNA pens people can use to invisibly mark their valuables.
The company also sells DNA grease, which is coated on metals like pipes and wires. Maltese said CSI Protect recently signed a contract with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where thieves have been stealing cables for their scrap metal value.
“This product really acts a lot like an alarm system,” Seymour said. “It’s a way to deter crime, or once the crime has occurred, it lets us tie the perpetrator to the crime. This is just another tool that puts a unique piece of evidence on the perpetrator and will allow more convictions.”
Signs in the Raptis shop warn: “DNA criminal tagging system in use to prevent theft.”
Said Maltese: “Our whole focus is prevention. When potential thieves see it’s in use here, they’ll go elsewhere.”
The cost of the system, he said, is less than $100 per month.
But Raptis shrugged off a question about that. “The cost is arbitrary when it comes to saving these special treasures,” he said.