Volume 32, Issue 1 (January 1987)
The Individuality of Toolmarks Produced by a Label Maker Used to Write Extortion Notes
To determine if toolmarks produced by label makers can be useful in identifying taped messages produced from them, examinations were conducted on seven tapes received as evidence and three reference label makers. It was determined that Dymo® Model 1885 Handimark label makers can be linked to the labeling tapes they produce on the basis of the individual characteristics of the drive wheel impressions and cutting toolmarks, along with the class characteristics which include flaws in the character wheel. An unusual case involving an abduction, where extortion notes had been written on Dymo labeling tape, was received in the Questioned Documents Section of the Virginia Bureau of Forensic Science. The laboratory was asked to determine whether the seven tapes had been produced by one label marker. When it was observed that there were scratches running the length of the tapes which might be suitable for comparison, the case was referred to the Firearms and Toolmarks Section. The scratches did not appear to be of any value for comparison, since they were apparently artifacts of the manufacturing process and not repetitive. However, further investigation revealed more useful information.