Play-Doh Prints Pin Suspect to Crime
Dennis Jackson, 55, tried to shoplift electronics from a Walmart store in Leicester, Massachusetts, after attempting to cover up the store’s anti-theft devices with a wadded mix of blue, red and green Play-Doh. Clever crime, right? Wrong. His crafty plan didn’t work, and he was forced to flee the scene, leaving the Doh behind.
The crime was first reported to law enforcement on December 11, 2017. A manager at the Walmart contacted police about the discovery of “spider wrap anti-theft devices” covered in Play-Doh. Apparently, an employee found the devices discarded behind other items.
Officers immediately began to scour the state’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) hoping to find a match to prints found at the retailer, but their efforts came up empty. That is until officers took a closer look at a photo posted on their Facebook page. An employee at the Connecticut Forensics Laboratory submitted a print made in the Play-Doh to the national AFIS in April after reading about the attempted robbery and officers were finally able to match this with Jackson’s earlier this month.
The Police Department’s original Facebook post read, “The attempt to thwart the security device did not work and the suspect fled the scene…but the suspect left the Play-Doh behind. The LPD investigator recovered the Play-Doh and found the suspect had left more than just the Play-Doh behind; the suspect left a very good fingerprint pressed into the Play-Doh for the LPD. The print is being processed to identify the suspect.”
Afterward, officers posted, “The LPD investigator recovered the Play-Doh and found the suspect has left more than just the Play-Doh behind. The suspect left a very good fingerprint pressed into the Play-Doh for the LPD.” Leicester Police Chief James Hurley added, “By leaving his fingerprints, the scheme didn’t work.”
“The proof is in the Play-Doh, glad we could help,” Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of global brand marketing for Play-Doh at Hasbro chimed in. The manufacturer is planning to send a care package to the Leicester Police Department to help out in future investigations.
As it turns out, Jackson already has a lengthy criminal history outside of the state of Massachusetts. He was already in custody in the Worcester County House of Correction when the match came back positive for outstanding warrants in Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey. There are a whopping 129 entries on this Board of Probation record. He has used 18 aliases.
“The suspect is currently residing at the Worcester County House of Correction and is wanted in at least two other states,” the Leicester Police Department announced.
Jackson is set to be charged with four counts of unlawful removal of an anti-theft device, according to court records from Western Worcester District Court in East Brookfield. He is being held without bail in West Boylston.
Oddly enough, a similar incident was reported at the Walmart in Whitinsville, and Northbridge authorities were notified of Jackson’s potential connection to that crime. Given the suspect’s history, officers are hoping to pin him for this incident as well.