'Data dots' help to track down stolen property

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's no bigger than a grain of sand, but Richland County sheriff's deputies say it could protect you from being a victim of a crime. They're called data dots, and it's a technology that helps track down stolen items.

It's hard not to notice Henry Burke with his 6'1" stature, unique sense of style, and not to mention his bright yellow golf cart, deemed the "litter patrol" car. "I'm the Clint Eastwood of this area," he joked.

He calls himself that because he's not only concerned about the beautification of the Woodfield area, but he's an effective crime watcher.

That's why Burke is being proactive in protecting his property. If anyone were to try to steal his yellow golf cart, he would be protected by data dots.

"Each dot is about the size of a sand pebble and each dot is uniquely identified with a number throughout the data dot itself," said Sgt. Rafael Gonzales. "You're going to mark your belongings in the house, that pin ID. Number belongs to you, it's like a thumbprint."

You apply a glue like substance that contains the high tech dots on your valuables. It dries clear and is virtually invisible to thieves.

If deputies recover stolen items, they will run a black light over it. If they find a data dot, they will put it under a microscope and it will show its unique number. Then they will know it belongs to you.

"We'd like to get ours marked so if they get it, we know it's ours and we get it back," said Burke.

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