So you think crime doesn't pay. Well, a San Francisco company has evidence to the contrary. Dura-Print Inc. is piling up cash from sales of a new fingerprinting kit, which literally "smokes out" impressions left at the scene of the crime.
The kit, developed jointly with Super Glue Corp. of Ridgewood, N.Y., works where most methods fail -- for example on plastic bags, which might hold; say, narcotics. "In the past it was difficult to get prints from paper, currency, plastic bags, and human skin," says Barbara MacLean, administrative manager for Dura-Print, a five-person company formed last spring to market the process. "Porous materials would quickly absorb sweat, so dusting wouldn't pick up anything."
The technique involves placing a pretreated gauze pad along with the object thought to have the prints into a small tank. Two specially formulated super glues are then poured on to the pad, and the container is covered. As the chemicals react, the pad gives off a kind of smoke that is drawn to amino acids left on the object, producing hardened fingerprints. This smoky scenario can be duplicated in entire rooms and cars, by dropping several pads on the floor and shutting all the windows and doors. In less than half an hour, the area is covered with grayish white fingerprints.
The standard kit, containing 10 applications, costs $25, but serious crime-busters can order the economy size, with 150 applications, for $195.