CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - What if you could not only increase your chances of getting stolen property back and but deter criminals from even wanting to take it?
That's what one product is claiming to do and it's going to be available in the Lowcountry very soon.
CopDots looks like a pen, but what's inside of it can be thought of as a kind of digital name tag. The pen is full of clear adhesive mixed with 3,000 dots, each about the size of a grain of salt.
"We call it DNA for your property, digital nano authenticators, because there's no way for those dots to accidentally get on your property," said James Mounce, CopDots representative.
Mounce says that you can put it on your most prized possessions, as long as it's firm, clean and solid. That includes bicycles, electronics, iPhones, iPads, laptops and other home electronics.
Under a florescent light, the gel glows. Under a magnifier, each dot shows the same set of unique numbers that are all registered to your name in an online database.
"Once they're on, they're on for good," said Mounce.
Mounce says there is one thing that is vital to their product's success - a working relationship with law enforcement.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office and Charleston Police Department have just been introduced to it. CopDots is providing the agencies with the equipment and training to be able to not only detect when CopDots are on an item, but to be able to track down it's owner.
"If something is lost or stolen on private property, they can find out who it belongs to," said Mounce. "They can also find out who it does not belong to."
Mounce says their ultimate goal is their customers get their stuff back, and the criminal goes to jail.
"It only takes one dot to convict," said Mounce.
That is just a hope for now. Mounce says, so far, no arrests have been linked to the use of CopDots on a stolen product.
Mounce says the concept first found success at DataDots in the automotive industry. It was then used by businesses to mark copper that was being stolen at high rates. In spring of this year, the creators took on a new goal. They want for every home in America to start marking their personal, valuable property with the dots.
Mounce also says he believes it will get so well known that areas with a high usage of the product will start seeing a reduced crime rate because criminals will just not want to take the risk of being caught with stolen items tagged with CopDots.
Our local law enforcement agencies are set to hold a press conference next week to show their public support for the product. Local Lowe's hardware stores will be stocking their shelves with it by the beginning of November. Each pen will cost $29.98.