APCO has turned to a hi-tech DNA security system to protect its Bendigo service stations from armed robbers.
The company has installed devices at its McIvor Highway and Kangaroo Flat service stations that spray offenders with billions of strands of
The DNA stays on a person’s skin, clothes and weapons for up to six weeks and can be easily linked back to the stores.
Store owner Damian Carew said the system would act as both a deterrent and a tool for police investigations.
“We had three armed robberies in four months. We’ve been trading for 25 years and before that, we’d had two.
“A number of years ago we installed a very good video system. This is probably the biggest step since then.
“This is world-leading technology.
“It sends the message to criminals that there’s technology out there that will get you.”
Mr Carew said staff had not been injured in the incidents but they were still affected.
“It certainly impacts you once you’ve had a traumatic incident like that,” he said.
“They can become quite nervous and upset. There’s also a flow-on effect for other staff.”
DNA Security Solutions managing director Tania Jolley said the system had not been used in Bendigo before.
She said a mist containing the DNA particles and an ultraviolet solution was sprayed as the offender left the premises.
“We’re certainly hoping it will have a great impact,” she said.
“The forensic link to the crime scene is incredibly important for police to irrefutably prove it was Joe Bloggs and the false alibi he normally gives is not going to stand up in court.
“It’s important for criminals to understand they can no longer just wander in and wander out and assume no one will chase them. We will find you.”
Ms Jolley said about 400 devices had been installed in pharmacies, post offices, jewellery stores and gaming venues.
Bendigo police officers learnt about the system at the McIvor Highway APCO yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Craig Gaffee said police could use existing technology to identify the DNA.
“There are benefits to us as investigators, but also in it acting as a deterrent,” he said.
“They might think twice about doing it if the chances of being apprehended are significantly higher.
“Any system that makes it harder for people to get away with it is great.”