New York Aug 11 2010 Minutes after an armored car made its delivery of cash to the EAB bank in Lake Success, N.Y., the masked robbers struck.
Claude Bird and his accomplice, a man known only as “Angel,” escaped with $240,000 on that day in March 1993, and none of the money was ever recovered.
Bird was tracked by law enforcement to his native country of Jamaica, where he escaped from jail the following year while awaiting extradition.
He was a free man for the next 17 years, but now he is back behind bars, thanks to new facial-recognition technology deployed by New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
On Tuesday, Gov. David A. Paterson and other New York officials touted the benefits of the new system, which was deployed across the state in February. They said it had helped them arrest more than 150 would-be imposters, including Bird, as well as an Egyptian on the terrorist watch list and a former Mafia hit man.
The new technology, which was tested for two years to iron out potential wrinkles in its deployment, had helped “bolster national security, neighborhood security and highway safety,” Mr. Paterson said at a press briefing in New York City.
“I am tremendously proud of the success we have seen in the past six months,” the governor added, appealing to other states to follow New York’s example and predicting the technology would soon spread nationwide.
“The reality is, there will be a time, we hope, when this becomes a national policy,” Mr. Paterson said.
Thirty-five states currently use some form of facial-recognition technology, according to AAMVA, the Association of American Motor Vehicle Administrators.
The $2.5 million system, paid for with a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, basically converts the digital photograph of an applicant into a mathematical algorithm — a numerical representation of the unique and relatively permanent underlying structures of the face.