Massachusetts sees spike in fingerprint alterations
24 July 2018 16:08 GMT

The number of criminals trying to hide their identities by burning, hacking and mutilating their fingerprints is skyrocketing in Massachusetts.

Local law enforcement continues to see the number rise even as the FBI has targeted Massachusetts as an altered fingerprint hot spot, US media reports.

Massachusetts State Police officials have identified 867 suspects arrested with deliberately altered fingerprints — most within the past few years, according to GopUSA The first three cases were logged in 2002, and by 2010 only 72 arrests were recorded.

Year-by-year breakdowns were not available, but since 2010, police have made 795 altered-fingerprint arrests, according to state police spokesman David Procopio.

The FBI flagged the Bay State as ground zero for criminal fingerprint erasures after studying records of altered prints across the nation, finding that, “Mass- achusetts officials had the most encounters with individuals who had altered fingerprints,” according to a 2014 FBI report.

Those include arrests made by local police in Boston, Lawrence and other cities, as well as by state police.

“On the tip of every finger were scars damaging each print,” wrote Salem police officer James Bedard in a June 4 arrest report of a man that police were unable to properly identify.

“This officer is aware that criminals alter/destroy their fingerprints to avoid detection by Law Enforcement Agencies.” 

Bedard arrested the man, who initially identified himself as Puerto Rican-native Emybel Perez Ortis. Law enforcement in Puerto Rico quickly debunked that identity.

“The information received comes back to a female with the same name, DOB and social security number who resides in Puerto Rico,” Bedard wrote.

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