Criminals Beware: Don’t Leave Earprints

In 2012, police in Germany managed to solve a series of 96 burglaries by identifying the culprit using the earprints he left at the scene while listening at doors to see if people were home. The 33-year-old man from Macedonia was arrested after committing a burglary in Kiel. He was then linked to 95 other burglaries in the area through DNA, fingerprints and earprints. He was in possession of stolen jewelry, cash and electronic equipment worth a total of $660,000. It turns out that earprints bring the same value as fingerprints in terms of evidence. When it comes to earprints, there are places on the ear where characteristic differences can be seen. Just as no two fingerprints have ever been found to be identical, no two earprints are identical either. There are also big differences between earprints of different ears on the same person. Will we see an earprint database in the future? The chances of that are unlikely, but at least it’s a tool the police can add to their investigatory arsenal on a case-by-case basis.