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Angus & Coote's Pitt Street store is its first store to be fitted out with the new system
Angus & Coote's Pitt Street store is its first store to be fitted out with the new system

Jewellery thieves to be branded with custom DNA

Retailer Angus & Coote is employing an innovative security system that sees potential thieves sprayed with store-specific DNA.
Implemented at Sydney’s Pitt Street store, the system employs a special DNA-based spray that soaks criminals as they attempt to escape. The DNA can then be matched against the individual store, and subsequently used by police to verify criminals.

Andre Oosthuizen, general manager of retail operations for Angus & Coote said the security system adopts a formula-based solution, which is unique to the specific Angus & Coote store.

“The gadget we stick on the store’s entrance has a solution with non-toxic liquid dye and each formula is used only in that store,” Oosthuizen said.

Once apprehended by police, ultraviolet light reveals the formula on the individual, which adheres to its subject for a long period of time.

“You can’t wash this formula off for at least three months,” Oosthuizen added.

According to Oosthuizen, the Pitt Street store has seen a number of robberies take place. Being a prominent shopping district in central Sydney, jewellery retailers are at the highest level of risk.

“With two entrances at our Pitt Street store, we have lost quite a number of big-ticket items and after extensive review, we decided to implement this system,” Oosthuizen said.

Prior to its installation, Oosthuizen was wary about its legal ramifications, not to mention the safety of the liquid spray. Angus & Coote sought clarification from legislators, while scientific tests proved that the DNA-laced formula was water-based with no toxins.

Since its inception in February this year, the Pitt Street in-store crime rate has dropped to zero. Thanks to its success, Angus & Coote now plan to spread this system across other stores deemed high-risk targets.

“It’s only at Pitt Street now but this is something we plan to implement at major malls first and then we will roll it out on a priority basis after calculating the risk,” Oosthuizen said.

More reading:
Legal reforms that jewellers need to know
Thieves arrested in $700,000 jewellery heist
How your staff can help prevent store theft

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