Crime-fighting technology helps Batavia Police track down robbery suspect

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Batavia Police released images of a man they say robbed the Key Bank on main Street. It only took a few hours for Batavia Police to track down Stacey Moss hiding in a house in Batavia on Monday. 

Officers say they were able to locate him quickly by using facial recognition at the Monroe County Crime Analysis Center.

You may be wondering why a crime center in Rochester is helping an agency in Batavia.

“Locally, we serve seven counties: Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Stuben, Yates, Ontario, and Wayne,” says the director of the center Dave Phelps.

Phelps says they operate through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Their technology helps to track suspects for things like shootings, stolen cars, and robberies like the one in Batavia.

“We can draw connections across multiple jurisdictions, and work as if we are one police agency,” says Phelps..

Ruthie Jaentel is lead analyst, and says the staff here go through strict training with FBI agents to ensure they know what they’re doing.

“Our main focus is looking at all the facial features that an individual might have — from eyebrows, to ears, to face, nose, mouth chin, and hairline,” explains Jaentel.

The software generates top matches using only photos in a booking system, meaning in order to identify someone, they’d have to have been arrested before.

Jeantel says nothing is ever a perfect match — only a possible match. And it goes through layers of approval before making its way to law enforcement.

“After, a law enforcement officer, sergeant, investigator, will send any pictures in relation to the bank robbery. So suspect, suspect vehicle, what have you — we will corroborate that info on all the databases we have access to, and then also run that photo through the software,” says Jaentel.

And while this kind of technology isn’t new, it’s certainly evolving.

So, the message to criminals:

“If you’re going to commit crimes, you have a lot of resources that weren’t there a year ago or even two years ago,” says Phelps.