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Bank installs anti-theft DNA tagging systems

James Hayward, chief executive of Applied DNA Sciences

James Hayward, chief executive of Applied DNA Sciences Inc. in Stony Brook. (April 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Applied DNA Sciences Inc., of Stony Brook, has sold robbery-deterrent systems to an Islandia-based bank, for installation in three of its branches in Suffolk County.

The Gold Coast Bank branches are in East Setauket, Islandia and Huntington.

The system has two components, each based on Applied DNA's line of dye-spray devices that coat a suspected bank robber, and stolen cash, with unique strands of plant-derived genetic material. The system will also protect automated teller machines and cash-machine rooms.

Once doused with the DNA-laced spray a suspect and the stolen money can infallibly be tied to the scene of a crime, Applied DNA says. Banks in Sweden are already using the system. And British authorities have reported several times in recent years that similar Applied DNA systems have resulted in convictions and prison sentences for robbery suspects.

With 19 fulltime and 2 part-time employees, Applied DNA was founded in 1983 as Datalink Systems Inc., changing its name to Applied DNA Sciences Inc. in 2002. 

It has a market capitalization of $33 million. In the past 12 months, on revenue of $777,630, it lost $8.2 million, or earnings (loss) per share of -$0.03.

Traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board, the stock closed Thursday at $0.07, with 850,000 shares trading hands; on average during the past three months the stock's average daily volume is 578,000. Applied DNA shares in the early 2000s had closing prices above $3.40 a share but in recent years have rarely gone higher than $0.15 a share

The product line sold to Gold Coast Bank is the SmartDNA Sentry 500 Intruder Spray System.

Joseph Perri, chief executive of Gold Coast Bank, said in a statement provided by Applied DNA, "As a local, customer-friendly bank, we want our patrons and employees to feel completely safe at our locations. We feel confident that the SmartDNA system will be a formidable barrier to criminals and places us at the cutting edge of bank security."

Perri could not be reached for additional comment Friday morning.

"In the event of a crime, the SmartDNA System launches the DNA spray, covering criminals' clothing and skin with a covert and unique botanical DNA marker, linking criminals irrefutably and legally to the scene of their crime," the company said in a news release this week.

"In a second part of the new program, APDN's DNANet product will be used to mark stolen cash. Integrated with the bank's alarm and police communications systems, the upshot is an unprecedented level of security in bank defense."

The spray system is triggered by a panic button, or it may be incorporated into the bank's existing emergency and alarm systems. The company also markets the system to insurance companies and cargo firms.

Photo shows James Hayward, the chairman, chief executive and president.

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