Glove Analysis Using ACE-V and Adobe Photoshop
Recently, an arrest of three suspected
burglars in Grand Rapids led to a subsequent search warrant of their
vehicle. The individuals were suspected of several other burglaries in the
area, yet fingerprint evidence was negligible or nullified through
elimination prints from the residents.
The crime scene technician that was
involved in the processing of these scenes had taken a special interest in
them because of the unusually defined glove markings found at the point of
entry of one of the break-ins. He used standard silver powder and was able
to obtain several lifts that yielded unique quality for possible
The search warrant produced a leather
batting-glove that seemed to have similar stitch marks to one of the lifts
that was produced at the crime scene. A closer look seemed to confirm a
strong possibility that the glove was used by one of the suspects when he
committed the burglary. An examination was needed to provide any firm
Illustration 1 shows the same
stitch mark curving through the areas of the glove section and of the silver
powder lift. This is very similar to looking for pattern types and ridge
flow in the analysis stage of fingerprint identification.
By lining up the stitching in each
exemplar, a split can be seen with a closer examination. The area that is
clearest in the lifted print is found near this curved area that runs from
top to bottom and right to left. After scanning the lifted print and a
close-up digital photograph of the glove surface into the computer, Adobe
Photoshop was used to look at the detail of the grain pattern found in known
glove mark and the lifted print. Illustration 2 shows this detail.
While bifurcations, ridge endings and
dots are generally the minutia characteristics defined by Grand Rapids
Police Latent Print Examiners, these would hardly apply in this particular
identification. The close-up images provided a unique vantage point to
study the shapes of the individual grains within the leather pattern.
Using the paint tool and a
selected color that contrasted the backgrounds of each image, the outline of
each individual grain was highlighted. Illustration 3 exhibits this
procedure. The results of this process produced a unique set of design
lines that match from the known print to the lifted print. This is
clarified by taking away the background layers in each image. The residual
colored patterns are shown side by side in Illustration 4.
With these enlarged images of the detail
found in the grain pattern of each exemplar, it was a fairly simple
identification. While it is rare to have such an opportunity in the careers
of most latent print examiners, this identification will be used to tie
these suspects to a crime scene otherwise unsolved.