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Exclusive: New crime-fighting technology leads to arrest

Exclusive: new crime-fighting technology leads to arrest

SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of aggravated robbery is behind bars Tuesday night, the first local arrest credited to new crime-fighting technology.

Last November 25, just before dawn, security cameras were rolling when a man and woman tried to rob the store and a clerk was shot.

"In December, he was arrested and detained for firing his pistol in the air,” says Nicole Strong, spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

But law enforcement didn’t know the two crimes involved the same person until a machine cracked the case: NIBIN, short for National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

“NIBIN is like a fingerprint for shell casings,” SAPD Chief William McManus says. "The shell casing that we covered from there was entered into the NIBIN machine."

It can literally link one criminal to multiple crimes and get that person off the streets.

"Each casing leaves behind a unique impression,” Strong says. "They're able to take that casing, enter it into our machine, the database. And the database hits on a lead from an earlier unsolved case."

The machine is bought and paid for by the ATF, and SAPD’s been using it since August. Since then, the local database has grown each day.

Now, NIBIN’s first arrest in San Antonio is 25-year-old Manuel Delgado. The machine tied the gun used in the robbery to the gun Delgado fired into the air.

"You have a seemingly innocuous case of a pistol being fired into the air and the next thing you know, it's able to link back and ultimately solve an aggravated robbery,” Strong says.

Both Strong and Chief McManus are confident we’ll see more violent criminals taken off the streets as the database grows.

"It just opens the door to so many more potential crimes that we'll be able to solve,” Strong says.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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