Leicester police say suspect identified with fingerprint left in Play-Doh

Police say a fingerprint was left in a glob of Play-Doh the suspect used to try to circumvent the store’s security measures.
Leicester Police Department
Police say a fingerprint was left in a glob of Play-Doh the suspect used to try to circumvent the store’s security measures.

As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”

Leicester police said they’ve identified a shoplifting suspect thanks to a colorful clue — a wad of Play-Doh left with a clear imprint of the man’s fingerprint.

In December, the suspect tried to shoplift electronics from the Walmart on Soojian Drive by covering up the anti-theft device with a wad of red, blue, and green Play-Doh, according to Leicester police Chief James Hurley. The department first announced the thefts on Facebook in March.


Play-Doh, produced by Pawtucket-based toymaker Hasbro, is a clay consisting primarily of water, salt, and flour, according to the product’s website. But Leiscester police said this particular use of the children’s toy didn’t work, and the suspect, identified by Hurley as Dennis Jackson, 55, fled the scene.

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“The LPD investigator recovered the Play-Doh and found the suspect had left more than just the Play-Doh behind; the suspect left a very good fingerprint pressed into the Play-Doh for the LPD,” the department wrote on its Facebook page.

Photos included with the post show the device partly covered by the putty and an image of the fingerprint police said was left by Jackson.

“By leaving his fingerprints, the scheme didn’t work,” said Hurley, who believes this is the first time in his 35-year career he has seen Play-Doh used this way.

Hurley credited the detective on the case for seeing the fingerprint on the clay and finding a way to identify a suspect. Hurley said he believes that the Play-Doh was also stolen from the same store.


On Monday, police said in a follow-up post that Jackson was identified with help from the Connecticut Crime Lab.

When police identified Jackson as the suspect last month, Hurley said they discovered Jackson was already being held on unrelated charges at the Worcester County House of Correction.

Jackson also faces charges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Hurley said.

Hurley said Jackson now faces four counts of unlawful removal of an anti-theft device and expects Jackson will be arraigned in the near future at East Brookfield District Court.

John Hilliard can be reached at