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Man gets surgery to remove fingerprints

March 4, 2008 at 7:57 PM

LAWRENCE, Mass., March 4 (UPI) -- A man in Massachusetts had his fingertips removed in an alleged attempt to prevent police from identifying him through fingerprints.

But police in Lawrence said that Gerald Perez, who gave his name as Edgardo Tirado, could have spared himself the trouble. A detective recognized him.

"His story was that somebody cut him with a knife and he was putting his hands up in defense, and the individual happened to be precise enough to cut the tip of every finger where the fingerprints are," Lawrence Police Chief John Romero told WCVB-TV in Boston.

Romero said that all 10 of the man's fingers had been subjected to the crude surgery, which he said could not have been done legally in the United States.

Investigators in the Boston area say that similar efforts are becoming more common. John Dillinger, the Chicago bank robber of the 1930s, tried something similar, using acid to burn off his prints, although FBI agents said enough was left to get a match.

Romero said that fingerprint surgery can make identification more difficult for police but also serves as a "red flag" that someone is up to no good.

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