1. LMThomas
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    LMThomas Member

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    Fingerprints

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LMThomas, Mar 11, 2012.

    Hi, everyone,

    A character in my current book is a paranoid type, although it should be noted he's not insane, and he doesn't even outwardly seem insane. He's sort of on the run. He frequents a certain bar all the time, but he's careful not to leave any fingerprints behind. My question is, what method should he use to avoid leaving fingerprints, that also doesn't make him seem like a weirdo? (btw he lives in a city that's usually quite warm, so wearing gloves to the bar all the time would seem sort of suspicious). Basically, he doesn't want to leave any prints on the bar, or on any beer bottles. I'm trying to think of some simple clever method, that wouldn't attract too much attention. Wiping down beer bottles and your seat after using it would seem sort of suspicious in my opinion.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Hi LMThomas,

    Well, there's not very much in this world that a quick google search can't find. I'm not sure how genuine the internet sources are, but multiple sites seem to point to one type of method, which involves using liquid latex. A thin layer of liquid latex is applied to fingertips, dried, then dusted with baby powder (so it's not sticky). Your character might have to colour the latex to match his skin-tone somewhat, so it won't give anything away. This layer can be peeled or washed off easily.

    Just as a side note, if your character is some sort of on-the-run criminal, fingerprints aren't the only thing he should be worried about. His DNA can be collected through skin and hair which have fallen off of him in the bar.

    Hope this helped!
     
  3. LMThomas
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    LMThomas Member

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    Great, thanks for the suggestion! I'm not too worried about DNA, because he's not in any databanks. In fact, it's not really very important to my story, but I'm kind of using it to show that the said character is a very careful fellow. So, on the one hand, the method you describe will be hard to show in the setting where we meet him....But on the other hand, it's the best idea I've seen by far.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe he uses clear nail polish on the pads of his fingers before he goes out.

    Doesn't matter whether it really works, as long as he thinks it does.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    What if he carries Windex and wipes with him wherever he goes, and wipes down everything he used/touched? I know a lot of clean freaks do this, so it wouldn't seem overly suspicious to random bystanders.
     
  6. LMThomas
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    LMThomas Member

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    Actually I was thinking super glue on his finger tips might be the way to go. That way my character can notice it as he shakes his hands. Never would have found that tip without CheddarCheese's tip. Thanks, guys.
     
  7. MVP
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    The first thing that strikes me about this, is if this character is paranoid, and sorta on the run, then why is he frequenting the same bar? If he is hiding out, he's not going to 'frequent' any place of business, he will be very self conscious about establishing a pattern of behavior.

    As far as leaving prints on a beer bottle, just have him throw the bottle out on his way to use the bathroom, no one will know which bottle was his.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    keep in mind that palmprints are just as identifiable as fingerprints...
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, career criminals especially assassins but also spies, troopers etc have been known to deliberately scar their palms and fingertips, either burn or acid-burn them, making it impossible to be identified from their fingerprints. But that is quite severe, also it leads to decreased sensation, and that is a whole different problem.
    There are thin latex gloves with fake fingerprints that can be bought (I think) they wouldn't be noticeable if he wore them. Also, he can paint skin-coloured latex over his fingers/palms. Other than that, the only way is either ordinary gloves, or grasping everything with tissues/jacket sleeve or cleaning everything he touches, but that would attract quite a bit of attention I think.

    If his DNA is not in a database, neither are his fingerprints. As long as they have something from him (hair, fibres, DNA) they can always compare it to the next lot as they collect it, and they can build up the profile that way, and once he is caught, they can match it. In that sense, covering up fingerprints but not everything else, doesn't make a lot of sense (to me, anyway).
     
  10. Lalli38
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    Lalli38 Member

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    Watching the movie "Gattica" might be of some help as the MC there is obsessive about not leaving a trace. There are all kinds of creative ways featured in that film. Check it out!
     
  11. LMThomas
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    LMThomas Member

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    Well, I know I said he was on the run, but he's not really on the run from someone looking for him. No one is actively searching for him, but if someone "stumbled upon him", he wouldn't be happy. Also, his only real friend is the owner of the bar, so that kind of gives me more options for how he hides his prints. But again, this isn't very central to my story, but it's more to show that this is a strange guy with SOMETHING to hide.
     
  12. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    One problem with this is that scars are just a different type of pattern - they are just as unique as the ridge patterns that make up a fingerprint. Probably the most famous (or infamous) person to use this technique was John Dillinger. However, if the scarring isn't deep enough, the patterns will grow back as they are actually formed on the deeper dermis layer of skin rather than the epidermis.

    The liquid latex idea would work as a way to convey this character's "careful" nature.
     
  13. MVP
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    Gotcha.

    Keep in mind, cold beer bottles sweat, so I'm not sure how well a print will imprint itself on a wet beer bottle, perhaps not enough to pull a print dusting off of it, you'd have to research that. Its not uncommon for people to wrap a napkin around a sweating beer bottle.
     
  14. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    Actually, you can get prints off of wet objects under the right circumstances. However, I agree about the napkin thing. I do it myself to keep it from "sweating" all over me.
     
  15. Jonathan Pushkin
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    Jonathan Pushkin Member

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    Use of chemical on the fingertips, which is temporary. Or slice of someone elses fingerprints [while they sleep], a thin, transparent sliver which at least distorts the unique and identifying grooves of his. Always wearing bandages or plasters around his fingers and having a story to excuse it. A special paste which fills the prints fine grooves for a bit, applied before he enters the bar[you can create intraspective scenes while he is alone in the/a restroom applying the mysterious product. Though his entering the restroom before attending the bar is suspicious, the character would have an extra dialogue to plausibly excuse such ritual and dinounce any sort of suspicion since it is simply polite and hygienic to wash one's hands before attending the bar :). Or maybe... forming blisters on his fingers through climbing etc?

    I hope this helps.
     

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