Liquid crime fighting tool helps Tulare County authorities catch suspects red-handed

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SmartWater CSI can only be seen under UV light and can cling to a suspect's skin and clothing for days, and it helped catch two thieves in Tulare County. (KFSN)

Tulare deputies cracked a chain of train horn burglaries last week and arrested two men, and they say it's all thanks to new silent technology.

Starting February this year, Union Pacific Railroad in Tulare County started losing train horns. The thefts happening at such a startling rate, they approached the Tulare County Sheriff for help.

"It's invisible, it's our invisible witness, and in this case, we are just glad we are successful," Sheriff Mike Boudreaux explained.

Boudreaux is talking about this traceable liquid - SmartWater CSI. It can only be seen under UV light and can cling to a suspect's skin and clothing for days.

Just three days after detectives applied a tiny vial onto the remaining horns, it helped them catch the thieves.

"We found them in their car, and in their car where the horns and on their hands were Smartwater," Boudreaux said.

Justin Lira, 20, and 18-year-old Andrew Donaldson were arrested and were caught green-handed. Each vial of Smartwater has a different formula, that helps police trace the stolen goods back to the rightful owner.

"This has its unique fingerprint, even more attributes than DNA," Boudreaux said.

More than 300 people in Tulare County have signed up for the product. The sheriff is encouraging more to join while simultaneously warning criminals about the technology.

"We show a rolling video in our jail system and let the inmates know this is invisible, odorless but once it attaches to you we are able to identify where that liquid was assigned to," Boudreaux said.

And now he has a real-life example to prove the technology is working.

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