Stupid Criminals: Man Attempts to Gnaw Off His Fingerprints

25 Aug

Damaged Print

If you have a record or an outstanding warrant or two, you might not want the police to ID you when you’re arrested for driving a stolen vehicle. I truly hate days like that. But, what to do? Maybe just gnaw off your fingerprints and they won’t be able to determine your ID. Probably painful, and probably won’t work. It looks like Kenzo Roberts gave it a whirl (no pun intended) anyway.

And he’s not alone. Many folks have tried to alter their fingerprints with cuts, burns, scrapes, and other painful procedures. Even Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger tried. Besides having plastic surgery to alter his face, he also attempted to burn away his fingerprints with acid. That didn’t work either.

John Dillinger

John Dillinger



John Dillinger was one of America’s most notorious criminals, once named Public Enemy No. 1. In an effort to evade the cops, he underwent facial plastic surgery and tried to remove his fingerprints with acid. After his betrayal by the famous “Lady in Red,” Dillinger was shot dead outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater. Prints taken at the morgue proved that the dead man was indeed Dillinger. The acid had damaged only a portion of his finger pads, leaving enough ridge detail for matching with his prints on file with the police.

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6 responses to “Stupid Criminals: Man Attempts to Gnaw Off His Fingerprints

  1. Sue Coletta

    August 25, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Wow. Stupid criminal is right. I’m surprised the acid didn’t work. Did he not leave it on long enough? Or would he have to burn to the bone to get rid of them?


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      August 25, 2015 at 7:08 am

      To completely and permanently remove prints requires the injury be deep into the layer we call the dermis–like a 3rd degree burn. This requires skin grafting to repair. But otherwise the prints grow back and the scars add another group of identifying marks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teresa Reasor

    August 25, 2015 at 7:32 am

    My mother was a beautician for 45 years and washed people’s hair every day. She has no fingerprints. She scrubbed them away. The last time she got her military ID renewed they couldn’t get a print and they had to sign off on it. So, there are ways of getting rid of them but it would take 45 years to do it this way. LOL


  3. James Pierson

    August 26, 2015 at 8:21 am

    My wife’s a hospital doctor and tells me that she’s been told by older medical staff that the constant use of antiseptic hand wash erodes fingerprints. Apparently some older surgeons don’t have any fingerprints left. Don’t know if this is an urban myth amongst doctors or whether there’s any basis of truth in it. But as with Teresa Reasor’s mother quoted above, it’s not much use to crims even if it is true, as they would need to liberally wash with antiseptic hand wash for years and years before they could make use of it. Better to just wear gloves.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      August 28, 2015 at 7:11 am

      who work with various chemicals can experience the same thing. And there are some cancer drugs that will also flatten the fiction ridges of the finer pads.


  4. Cheryl B. Dale

    August 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Good to know!



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