In February 2022, a local agency partner requested the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security’s assistance with solving a high value (approximately $90,000 at the time) copper theft that occurred during off-business hours at local industrial manufacturing facility. At the time, the local agency only had dark CCTV footage of the theft in progress as well as the masked suspect and associated vehicle and no leads.
Based on the investigating officer’s knowledge of vehicles, the investigative team was able to identify the make, model, trim, drivetrain, and color code of the vehicle. They then used that information to cross reference with vehicles registered across the U.S. Once they found what they believed to be the vehicle used, and associated suspect(s), they used CrimeTracer to push the investigation further, searching for the suspect’s associates.
In this process, the investigative team was able to uncover that the suspect was part of a much larger organized crime theft ring operating all over the U.S. CrimeTracer was especially helpful in identifying associates and thefts in roughly six states spanning across the U.S. from New York to California. The criminal enterprise also had ties overseas. What started as a copper theft will virtually no leads, thanks to CrimeTracer, developed into an international organized crime investigation.
While the larger investigation is still ongoing, local agency partners were able to identify the suspect(s) in their case and through the cooperation of out-of-state authorities, were able to arrest the suspect and extradite them back to Tennessee for prosecution as well as seize the vehicle used during the commission of the theft. They were also able to notify various agencies of the likely identification of suspect(s) in their outstanding cases. CrimeTracer’s ability to show associations.
CrimeTracer’s ability to show associations and networks was critical in uncovering the larger aspect of this investigation.