Thick pollen could hinder crime investigations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thick pollen could hinder crime investigations

April 2, 2007

Lee County-  The yellow haze that has been coating cars and porch furniture could also make it hard for police to collect fingerprints at crime scenes. 

The heavy pollen across South Georgia this spring could give criminals a helping hand. Pollen is the same as dust and dirt; it's a barrier that prevents the transfer of oil from criminals' hands to surfaces they touch. The black dust investigators use to find fingerprints sticks to the oils and allows them to use tape that lifts impressions. 

"Pollen is actually a fairly waxy type substance when you put your hands in it it can mix with amino acids, which is the substance that's on your fingers normally anyway that causes us to be able to lift fingerprints and so that will mix and fill in the ridges in your hand," said Col. Duane Sapp, Lee County Sheriff's office. 

Colonel Sapp said while fingerprinting a crime scene is useful, it's not the only way to solve a crime. Police and deputies rely on other techniques that may include witnesses or surveillance video to assist in catching a suspect.

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