CSI: Gutter Theft – A New Way To Identify Stolen Copper Gutters

Americans are probably familiar with the plethora of crime scene investigation-centered episodic dramas that are scattered around the television spectrum. The most popular groups of these programs are those in the CSI series on the CBS network. The original CSI: Las Vegas is still on the air after 15 years; while two spinoffs, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, enjoyed lengthy runs as well. And this month, the CSI: Cyber spinoff launched to appeal to cybercriminal investigations.

With the omnipresence of these CSI-type shows, why not take it a step further? For instance, CBS could create a new series known as CSI: Gutter Theft.


Gutter theft
The episode you won’t want to miss!


Sounds a little crazy, right? Admittedly, this type of show may not be too exciting, given that the “evidence” involved in most gutter thefts is sparse or nonexistent. But that could soon change with the advent of new technology.

Metal May Soon Get Its Own “DNA”

There’s a new company in Sony Brook, New York called Applied DNA Sciences which was founded last year. The firm’s name is a tad misleading, since it doesn’t work with actual human DNA. Instead, what ADNAS does is use botanical-based biotechnology to create unique markers called SigNature® DNA that can be used for a wide variety of applications. For instance, ADNAS embeds these markers into specific types of cotton to help apparel makers identify their clothing in order to help prevent counterfeit goods from eating into the companies’ market share.

The Silver Bullet For Copper Gutter Theft?

What does this have to do with gutters? Applied DNA Sciences has begun working with certain metal manufacturers in the European Union to incorporate its SigNature® DNA into copper and other raw materials. As a result, each manufacturer will utilize a unique SigNature® DNA marker that can be embedded into their finished metal products. So for instance, if some copper gutters are stolen from a work site, the investigating authorities could use the marker to help find the material if the thief is trying to sell it to a scrap yard for cash. Then they could forensically link the perpetrator to the stolen gutters and make an arrest.


Gutter theft
These pipes can be worth a whole bunch of money.


Plenty of Applications

Not only is this SigNature® DNA marker invisible to the naked eye, i is also unable to be duplicated. That’s why ADNAS is serving customers in a variety of industries including textiles, electronics, plastics, paper products, and even currency. The SigNature® DNA can help companies manage their supply chains and prevent theft or counterfeiting of products.

The Future of Metal Theft Prevention?

Right now, this technology is quite a ways away from being implemented in the United States. But given that copper theft is already a billion-dollar industry in the U.S., there seems to be a need for protecting copper products so that they don’t disappear from homes, construction sites, power plants, or subways and railways. And if makers of other metal products (like, say, aluminum gutters) see the value in using this technology to track shipments, we may one day see widespread use of SigNature® DNA markers across the nation.

In theory, these developments might create a need for a forensic scientist that is devoted primarily to metal, paper, and other material theft cases. If that happens, then seeing CSI: Gutter Theft on your TV screen may not be that far-fetched at all.


Gutter theft
Starring people who are much more attractive than typical crime scene investigators.


Written by Del Thebaud

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