Fingerprint System Helps Police With Arrest In South Side Burglary

By Emma Koch - 21Alive
By Jeff Neumeyer

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 3, 2013 at 10:52 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) --A modern twist to an old-fashioned way of solving crimes.

Fort Wayne police nab a suspect in one of a series of break-ins on the south side of the city, and it's all because of advances in fingerprint technology.

It’s true that police have relied on fingerprints for decades.

But cops used to have to have a pretty good idea about who did the crime before fingerprints could help them close the deal.

Not anymore.

21-year old Christian Bradley of Woodburn was arrested Tuesday for a burglary in the early morning hours of September 28th that took place in a home in the 4000 block of South Harrison Street.

A total of 14 fingerprints were lifted from a window pane at the home, then were analyzed by FWPD fingerprint examiners, who look for loops, arches and whirl patterns that are unique to each individual.

Then they entered one of the prints into the "Afis" fingerprint system, a data bank of about a 100,000 criminals.

The computer software helped officers get a hit on Bradley.

Court papers say he later admitted to being at the scene and opening the window.

In the old days, a detective would have no way to limit the pool of potential suspects.

" Let's say we're looking at a whirl pattern. We have to go back and look at every whirl, where there are thousands, quite literally thousands of cards like that, and it's not very efficient, it's not practical, and you're not going to get it done in your lifetime," said Eric Black, a certified fingerprint examiner with city police.

" This is just proof that technology is assisting law enforcement almost on a daily basis, I mean, it's quantum leaps," said FWPD officer Michael Joyner.

In early to mid-September, the historic Southwood Park neighborhood and some others near Foster Park were hit hard by break-ins where windows were the point of entry.

Police admit they will do their homework, to see if Bradley can be linked to more than the crime on South Harrison.

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