(LONDON) -- Bank robbers have been wary of the exploding money pack that covers them with a bright colored dye for years, but now they've got one more thing to worry about. A device that sprays an invisible DNA mist on robbers is making its way into stores and businesses that are frequently targeted by thieves.
The mist, which is now being used in nine countries and coming to the U.S. soon, shows up under ultraviolet light and contains a DNA code that police stations scan for when they bring in criminals. The unique code irrefutably links criminals to the scene of the crime.
"The word DNA spreads fear into even the most hardened criminals," said Jason Brown, business director of SelectaMark, the company that created SelectaDNA Spray.
SelectaMark says the spray stops crime by scaring criminals away with warning signs posted outside of protected buildings that read "You Steal, You're Marked." The mist is so fine, it's unlikely a robber would know he's been hit. It sinks into the target's skin and hair where it sits for weeks.
"You can take a shower three times a day, but the DNA stays on," said Jean-Paul Fafie, the manager at one of several McDonald's restaurants in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, that had the spray system installed.
No arrests have yet been made that are attributed to the DNA mist, and police say while the mist is extremely effective at protecting individual shops the overall rate of crime isn't down. It's just changed locations.
"They go now to stores without DNA spray. It's not that they do less criminal activity," said Quirine Schillings, a communications officer for the Rotterdam police.
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