Crime Databases

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

It's thanks to some national databases. Both men gave fake names. And police weren't buying it. They did some checking and within minutes the men were under arrest.

Thomas Bragg and Rodney Cook have a few things in common, both were wanted in Waynesboro, and found in other states.

"The law enforcement agencies there scanned their fingerprints and in a matter of hours could identify who those men were," Sgt. Brian Edwards says.

Thomas Bragg has been wanted for sexual assault since 1999.

"We had tons of people saying he's in Florida. We didn't know where he was-it was the use of the technology that on a routine traffic stop, here's a wanted felon from Waynesboro," Sgt. Edwards says.

Remember the Planter's bank robbery in August? Rodney Cook was arrested Friday, after police in Pennsylvania scanned his fingerprints and checked a national database.

"That's when Mr. Cook started spilling his guts if you will about all the crimes he committed including the bank here in Waynesboro," Sgt. Edwards says.

The database is called the National Criminal Information Center...all felons are entered into it, and every time you're pulled over by police, your name gets checked.

"We need the pertinent information, name, date of birth, gender, race, social security number," Sgt. Edwards says.

The database prints out everything, including whether you're armed and dangerous.

"We're becoming more and more reliant on this technology," Sgt. Edwards says.

That's because it's so effective for departments like Waynesboro.

"We've been finding people in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, two in Florida. Mr. Bragg and someone else-we've been finding people all over the country," Sgt. Edwards says.

But, Edwards says it couldn't be done without good police work.

The fingerprint technology used to find these men is only available in bigger cities. It costs about $40,000. But, the databases are in every police department.


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