The Hole in the Wall Gang

Detective Robert E. Kramer
Police Department – 220 Clay Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
(319)268-5132
editor@iowaiai.org

In 1995, Cedar Falls experienced a number of related burglaries which involved entry to businesses through skylights and common walls, such as are commonly found in strip malls. We referred to the incidents as “the hole in the wall burglaries.” While investigating a burglary in a strip mall I recovered a flashlight which was apparently left behind by the suspect/s. Realizing that the suspect/s were probably wearing protective gloves when they committed the offense, I also assumed that they were not wearing gloves when they last changed the batteries in the light. I processed the batteries (after retrieving them from within the flashlight) for fingerprints in the following manner:

  1. The batteries were exposed to cyanoacrylate fumes inside a humidified chamber for about fifteen minutes.
  2. Both batteries were then soaked in a Rhodamine 6G / alcohol solution. The excess was rinsed from the surface of the batteries.
  3. I examined the batteries with the aid of an OMNICHROME light source and photographed fingerprints which were visible on the surface.
battery Two fingerprints were recovered from one of the batteries. One fingerprint was identified as having come from each of the two suspects, who were later arrested and charged with several counts of burglary from the metropolitan area.