Detectives from the Tulare County Sheriff’s agriculture crime unit are using new technology to thwart ag theft. The product is called SmartWater CSI. Detective John Nicholson said equipment owners can use the liquid to mark their tools, much like an invisible serial code. The water has a mineral code in it that can be changed. Owners are given a water that has a specific and individualized code that’s registered to them.
Nicholson said the water is a milky color when applied but will become invisible when it dries in an hour. The product will stay on equipment for five years. Detectives can use a specific light to identify markings when they come across suspect equipment. Those markings can be tested and the owner can be found. Nicholson said the tool is helping get equipment back to rightful owners, but they hope it will deter crime as well as thieves see it leading to arrests.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department said they are getting calls from other law enforcement about their opinion of the product. Nicholson said some people would joke when they referenced it at the beginning, asking him ‘How’s the magic water working?’. He said the tone has changed however with inquiries, and more agencies are interested in the tool.
Listen to Nicholson’s full interview.