Tulare Sheriff using new invisible tech to find Ag equipment thieves


New technology is helping to catch crooks who steal equipment from the Ag industry. It’s called, SmartWater CSI.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office says it works. They’ve partnered with 300 farmers and growers. Deputies said it’s already helped them catch two suspects.

Deputies said the liquid can be a leading deterrent in Ag crimes. It’s the first to be used on the West Coast.

“It protects literary tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment,” Peter Alvitre with California Clementines in Visalia, said.

Alvitre is talking about the new technology, SmartWater. A clear product, you can’t see it, feel it or even smell it. But when a special UV light shines upon the SmartWater liquid it emits a yellow glow.

“It carries its own unique finger print, I refer to it as DNA,” Mike Boudreaux, Sheriff of Tulare County Sheriff Office, said.

Boudreaux said all it takes is a small dab on your equipment and it’s registered to you. If it’s stolen and found, they take a small pen size sample and trace it back to you.

He said it’s good for Ag equipment which is often hard to identify.

“We in law enforcement come across many different items we believe to be stolen but the difficult thing is finding who that property belongs to,” Boudreaux said.

That’s where SmartWater CSI comes in. Boudreaux said it works. He said it’s much different from invisible paint or grease used in other investigations. Boudreaux said SmartWater last for years on a equipment and it’s helping catch Ag thieves, like the two alleged suspects who stole train horns and caught on Friday, September 15.

“CSI SmartWater once illuminated by our special lighting by detectives was all over the hands on the suspects, it was all over the horns, all over the car and so when it comes to being able to successfully prosecute we’re able to show that these men and only these men were in contact and responsible for the theft of these train horns,” Boudreaux said.

While Ag theft is a real fear in the Central Valley, Alvitre says he’s lucky he hasn’t had anything stolen. He hopes with signs posted that his equipment has smart water, he never will.

“The SmartWater technology is something to help us guard against that,” Alvitre said.

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said they’re hope is for other counties to use this tool and spread the message to criminals, that they will be caught.

In Tulare County Ag partners can receive a free kit, they can call the Ag Crime Detectives at 559.735.1898

For individual personal use, you’ll have to contact the SmartWater CSI company.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.