Fingerprint Removal Rarely Successful in Disguising Criminals' Identities

Criminals go to great lengths to disguise their identities — even going so far as to slice off their fingerprints — but experts say it doesn't work.

Recently, an Arizona plastic surgeon reportedly admitted to helping a drug dealer alter his identity by replacing his fingerprints with skin from the bottom of his feet, reports.

"Fingerprint obliteration has been going on since they started taking fingerprints," retired police Det. John McClaire told the station.

"They would use acid," he said. "Some people would try to sand paper them off, which didn't work. It just grew back."

But experts say that surgical techniques such as skin grafts — though extreme and costly — are rarely successful in concealing a crook's identity.

"Some people would cut their fingers and it'd just be a scar, but the rest of the fingerprint would still remain," McClaire said. "This became a permanent part of their finger, that permanent scar, which could now be identified."

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