Watch CBS News

FLPD Uses High-Tech Water To Catch Thieves

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – As a mist showers down onto a man from a spigot on the ceiling, some might think it's a shower, but it's not. It's SmartWater.

You could call it a crime fighting spray. Under a special light, you'll see why. It leaves a harmless chemical staining the skin and clothes, explains SmartWater Founder Philip Cleary.

It's the latest crime-fighting tool being introduced in Fort Lauderdale. It's already used in Europe and can be used in several ways.

As part of an alarm system, it sprays the crooks. It was used during a jewelry store robbery in England.

"I hit the button," explained the store clerk. The smart water was activated for when they ran across it. As they ran through it, the spray came down in huge doses so they were completely and utterly soaked."

Weeks later when the suspects were arrested, police found the SmartWater on the gun. The spray is similar to DNA – in that it's unique to each customer, so the gun was linked to the jewelry store robbery and the crooks were out of luck!

Brian Letulle lives in South Middle River in Fort Lauderdale. He and 500 of his neighbors will be part of a pilot program to introduce SmartWater in the U.S.

For home use, SmartWater can be sprayed on to your property. If someone takes it and tries to sell it; it will be marked with spray that links it back to you.

"Having had a motorcycle stolen before," explained Letulle, "I think you just put a dab somewhere inconspicuously, now my motorcycle's marked with the smart water, it's got my code on it. If they show up at a pawn shop, now it's traceable."

"You let them know, 'Guys, the good times are over,'" said Cleary, "We can make you accountable. You have this stuff in your store and we can prove it's stolen." He urges them, "just don't buy it."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.