It sounds like a superhero tactic, a special invisible paint to help fight crime. In Orangeburg, residents and law enforcement are testing whether invisible paint is an the answer to identifying stolen copper and other goods.
CEO of the Sunshine Recycling Center in Orangeburg, Joe Rich has developed a product he hopes will make a difference in the identity of stolen property and goods. He is giving it away to local citizens and law enforcement to help them recover materials that are stolen.
If it works, he may become a hero in the community.
Rich explains that citizens can mark items with a stencil kit or small ink pen using a product that is only visible with a UV black light.
You know, stolen copper and not stolen copper looks identical. You can’t tell the difference between the two. We’re not a company that’s engaged in profiling, so we’re not going to judge the person that’s bringing it in and say, “this person’s a thief and this person’s not.” There’s no way to tell that.
Rich says his product would aid recycling businesses as well as law enforcement in easily identifying stolen products such as copper and electronic items.
We wanted something that would aid the recycler in being able to easily identify the product, easily follow up, in other words call the individual that’s got their phone number on the product and say, “Hey do you have this person recycling your air conditioner,” or “does this air conditioning stencil match the person that’s bringing it in?”
Rich says the identifying mark will give them something to investigate and to use in court as evidence.
We believe we can mark about 150,000 homes with these. We are meeting with churches and civic groups and volunteer groups and law enforcement agencies. The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and the city police have both agreed to have this product in-house and when individuals from the community come in they can sign a can of paint out, take it home, mark their air conditioner, bring it back and then we can then give it to someone else who can sign it out and re-use it.
Rich says his offering the invisible paint to his communitydemonstrates stewardship of the environment and the economy.
We are trying to do the right thing, but we do have some recyclers that are not. And we want to try and step up and demonstrate that our stewardship of the environment isn’t limited to just the environment. It’s also our stewardship to our communities and our economy, both of which we support very vigorously. Obviously this is a pilot program and if we can get this to be successful in Orangeburg County we believe that we will have something that can be spread across the state and that it will really make a difference in the copper theft, in the air-conditioning theft that is going on across our state.
Rich has been demonstrating the invisible paint for Orangeburg County residents and law enforcement.