CUGI "Hit of the Year" 2015: Lake County Crime Lab helps bring bank robbers to justice


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​​The Cogent Users Group International (CUGI) has recognized the exceptional work of the Lake County Crime Lab in Ohio, USA, ​​with its 'Hit of the Year' award for 2015. The decision celebrates the crucial role played by the lab's forensic analysts in bringing to justice the criminals responsible for a bank robbery in 2014.

Cogent, now Gemalto Cogent, is proud to have supplied the AFIS (Automatic Fingerprint Identification System) which assisted the work of the Lake County team in tracking down one of the perpetrators.

For an insight into the work of the Lake County Crime Lab, as told by the forensic analysts themselves, please watch the video.

This is their story…

On November 22nd, 2014, a teller at a branch of the Lake N​ational Bank in the small town of Mentor was confronted by a robber. Claiming to have a gun, the woman passed the teller a note demanding cash. The bank employee handed over several thousand dollars, and the robber and two accomplices fled.

Local police subsequently processed the crime scene, searching for clues that might serve to identify at least one of the criminals.

However, as Rebecca, a forensic analyst at the Lake County Crime Lab, explains, the environment was challenging: "Banks can be difficult to develop prints from, especially bank counter tops, with the number of customers that come into contact with those counters on a daily basis." Fortunately, in this case, police were able to use CCTV footage to guide their search.

Subsequently, a partial palm print was identified on the counter, along with prints on an envelope handled by the robber during the heist.

A partial palm print left

The forensic analysts continued this meticulous processing in the lab, searching for notable characteristics and patterns in the partial palm print. Ultimately, the results of their work were scanned into the Cogent AFIS, and checked against a number of police databases.

Within a minute, potential matches were found.​

Further analysis by the crime lab team then identified a woman who was ultimately arrested and convicted of the robbery. Along with two accomplices, she was sentenced to jail.

Forensic analysts 

Cogent AFIS at work

Commenting on the Cogent AFIS, Ray, the director of the Lake County Crime Lab, said: "It's really a great advancement for us. It's gotten faster, it's gotten more complete, it's gotten to be a lot more accurate - and it just really speeds up the process."

Cogent is pleased to be able to highlight the vital contribution of the Lake County Crime Lab - and forensic analysts around the world - in bringing offenders to justice and helping to build a safer world.

To know more on biometric authentication, visit our June 2017 web dossier.

CUGI – Bringing together Cogent AFIS users to learn and share industry best practices

Every year, Cogent AFIS/ABIS users from all over the world gather for a three day educational conference wherein they were able to learn from experts in the field, share case stories with one another and best practices across the industry. 

There's more. 

A top highlight of the conference is the "Hit of the Year" contest, where users present their most impactful latent hit from the last 12 months for peer-voting. 

The 2017 CUGI Conference will be held in October in Indian Wells, California, where we will reveal the video for the 2016 "Hit of the Year" award winner and once again, announce a winner for the 2017 entries. This marks the 20th anniversary of the CUGI Educational Conference. 

Visit our web site for more information on CUGI